Epidemiology of adolescent Salvia divinorum use in Canada

Currie, L. Cheryl. Drug and Alcohol Dependence.Download full text


Salvia divinorum is a potent, naturally occurring hallucinogen gaining popularity as a recreational drug in North America. To date, detailed epidemiologic information about the use of this substance among adolescents living outside the United States has been limited. This study provides information on the prevalence and correlates of Salvia divinorum use among adolesecents in Canada using a nationally representative sample.


Data were obtained from a representative sample of 42,179 Canadian adolescents aged 12 17 years living across all 10 provinces who completed the Youth Smoking Survey in 2008 09.


Overall, 3.8% of adolescents reported using Salvia in the past year and 6.2% had used the substance in their lifetime. A conservative estimate suggests 23.2% of youth were repeat users. Salvia use was highest among youth in British Columbia and Quebec. Comparatively, the prevalence of 12-month Salvia use was higher than 12-month cocaine and amphetamine use but lower than 12-month ecstasy, cannabis, and other hallucinogen use. Correlates of Salvia use included older age, male gender, high available spending money, binge drinking, illicit drug use and smoking in fully adjusted models. Findings suggest low self-esteem may be an important correlate specific to the use of this substance among youth.


Salvia divinorum use is prevalent among Canadian adolescents. Salvia may be a significant public health issue in Canada given it is readily available, under limited regulation, and little is known about the abuse liability of the substance, interactions with other substances, and potential complications from use.

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