Article Text

Download PDFPDF
PW 2578 Sentinel surveillance of injuries related to substance use and abuse among the canadian pediatric population
  1. Deepa P Rao,
  2. Steven McFaull
  1. Public Health Agency of Canada, Ottawa, Canada


Substance use is an individual behaviour that is also embedded in sociocultural context. The use of such psychoactive agents has been associated with injuries, most notably poisoning. This study seeks to identify and describe injuries related to substance use in the Canadian pediatric population that were captured within the electronic Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program (eCHIRPP) database. Records in the eCHIRPP system, years 2011 to 2016, were extracted for ages below 18 years old. Existing variable codes and narrative text were used to identify injuries related to substance use (depressants, stimulants, opioids, cannabis, and alcohol). Descriptive statistics (intent, type of injury, and hospitalization) were calculated using SAS Enterprise Guide version 5.1 and are presented. A total of 3363 cases of injury related to substance use were identified, with a frequency of 627 per 1 00 000 eCHIRPP cases. Among cases where substance use was identified, poly-substance use was observed in 14.9% of cases, and the use of depressants only in 2.4% of cases, stimulants only in 1.0% of cases, opioids in 3.2% of cases, cannabis in 12.7% of cases, and alcohol in 65.9% of cases. Poisoning accounted for most injuries (72.0%), and the majority of injuries were unintentional in nature (67.1%), although cases of physical assault (12.8%), self-harm (11.3%), and sexual assault (0.8%) were observed. Injuries severe enough to warrant hospitalization occurred in 12.1% of cases. Injuries related to the use of different categories of substances have been identified in pediatric populations presenting to eCHIRPP centres. Given the possibility of physical and psychological dependence on psychoactive agents, continued surveillance and awareness health literacy efforts are warranted. Continued surveillance and monitoring of injuries related to substance use should help to inform future injury prevention efforts.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.