The ongoing health crisis has played a role in Canadians’ use of drugs and alcohol, with boredom and stress driving a boost in consumption for some adults during the pandemic, according to a new survey.
Statistics Canada, which released its findings Thursday, looked into how those habits have changed compared to before the pandemic for adults across the country — and what exactly is behind an uptick in drinks or cannabis use.
“Some may have had more free time to consume alcohol and non-medical cannabis, while others may have increased their consumption in an effort to relieve boredom or fight loneliness,” the agency said.
The survey, which was conducted from Jan. 25 to 31, found that 54 per cent of Canadians who use cannabis or drink alcohol did not report any changes in their habits.
When it comes to alcohol, Ontario had the highest jump in increased consumption with 30 per cent. The Prairies saw a 27 per cent spike while British Columbia followed at 22 per cent. Meanwhile, Quebec had a 17 per cent increase and the Atlantic provinces followed at 16 per cent.
The number of people nationwide who reported drinking more is almost the same as those who cut back. Of those surveyed, 24 per cent who drank alcohol in the pre-pandemic period say their consumption has been on the rise, while 22 per cent say their drinking has decreased.
Canadians who are drinking more during the pandemic pointed to different reasons for the change, with 60 per cent pointing to boredom and 58 per cent citing stress. Convenience, loneliness and insomnia were also factors.
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