According to a study Statistics Canada one in five Canadian adolescents ages 12 to 15 has been drunk at least once, and has tried marijuana.
The study, based on interviews with more than 4,000 youths in that age group, found those most likely to use drugs and alcohol travelled with peers who also did so, had parents who nagged or were inconsistent about rules, and were more likely to be doing poorly in school.
Among those who had been intoxicated, the average age for their first time was a few months past their 13th birthday -- around the same age they were most likely to sample their first joint. The likelihood of drinking and marijuana use increased with age; 66 per cent of 15-year-olds in the study reported consuming at least one drink and 38 per cent said they had smoked pot, reports theglobeandmail.com
According to canoe.ca Hotton was also surprised there didn't appear to be a gender gap: girls were as likely to experiment as boys.
Wolfe found no surprise there, saying while girls once lagged behind boys in illicit behaviours such as drug use and smoking, that's no longer the case.
"Girls are clearly catching up," he said.
Peer pressure appeared to play a role. Kids who associated with kids who drank or used drugs were more likely than others their age to drink alcohol or take drugs.
But the authors were quick to note they couldn't tell if this was a case of kids influencing other kids or whether like-minded kids were being drawn together because they shared the same view of drinking and using drugs. Kids from families with a step-parent were twice as likely to use drugs as kids who lived with both biological parents.
Friends play the biggest role in determining whether adolescents will experiment with drugs and alcohol, according to a new study. But it's not possible to determine whether their friends are influencing them or whether "birds of a feather flock together," meaning that young teens seek friends who share similar attitudes, the study said, informs thestar.com