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Lifetime illicit drug use among Canadians as of 2017

Cannabis is by far the most used illicit drug in Canada, with around 47 percent of the population having used the drug at some point during their lifetime. In comparison, around eight percent of Canadians have used ecstasy in their lifetime and 10 percent have used cocaine or crack.

Who uses illicit drugs?

Drug use in Canada is more common among males than females for every type of illicit drug. Those aged 20 to 24 years are also more likely to have used illicit drugs in their lifetime than other age groups. There are also large regional differences in drug use in Canada. The province of British Columbia reports the highest percentage of the population who have used cannabis, hallucinogens, cocaine/crack, or ecstasy in their lifetime.

Cannabis in Canada

In October 2018, the Cannabis Act came into effect in Canada, which set a framework for the legal sale, possession, production, and distribution of cannabis. Recreational cannabis has since become a formidable market in Canada, with the leading companies of the industry reporting market values in the millions. Some of the leading reasons for cannabis consumption in Canada according to users include help relaxing or sleeping, reducing stress or anxiety, and to have fun with friends.

Percentage of Canadians who used select illicit drugs in their lifetime as of 2017

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Release date

November 2018



Survey time period

February to December 2017

Number of respondents

16,349 respondents

Age group

15 years and older

Method of interview

Telephone interview

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Statistics on "Drug use in Canada"

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