Low school belongingness and non-prescription opioid use among students in Ontario, Canada

Abstract

Objectives

School belonging impacts a range of factors, including academic performance, school attendance, relationships with peers and teachers, mental and physical health, and drug and alcohol use. Previous studies have shown that a lack of belonging to one’s school is associated with substance use. The objective of the study was to examine the association between low school belongingness and the use of opioids in students in grades 9 through 12 in Ontario, Canada.

Methods

Data were gathered from 6418 participants in grades 9–12 who responded to the 2015 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey (OSDUHS). Logistic regression analyses were used to model associations between low school belongingness and opioid use, adjusted for gender, grade, ethnicity, socio-economic status, and living situation.

Results

Overall, low school belongingness was associated with non-prescribed opioid use (OR = 1.11, 95% CI 1.05–1.17). Feeling unsafe at school (OR = 1.43, 95% CI 1.23–1.66) was associated with elevated odds of using non-medically prescribed opioids. Girls who felt that they were not a part of their school community were at elevated odds of using opioids (OR = 1.35, 95% CI 1.16–1.56); this association was not observed among boys.

Conclusion

The findings suggest that low school belongingness may be associated with the use of non-prescribed opioids in students. These findings suggest that school-based interventions aimed at improving social cohesion and feelings of belongingness and safety may be beneficial in reducing the use of non-prescription opioids among adolescents.

Résumé

Objectifs

Le sentiment d’appartenance scolaire se répercute sur toute une série de facteurs, y compris le rendement scolaire, l’assiduité, les relations avec les pairs et les enseignants, la santé physique et mentale, et la consommation d’alcool et de drogues. Des études précédentes ont mis en évidence qu’un manque d’appartenance à son école est associé à la consommation de substances. La présente étude a pour but d’examiner l’association entre un faible sentiment d’appartenance scolaire et la consommation d’opioïdes chez les élèves de la 9e à la 12e année en Ontario, au Canada.

Méthodes

Les données ont été recueillies parmi un échantillon de 6 418 participants de la 9e à la 12e année qui ont participé au Sondage sur la consommation de drogues et la santé des élèves de l’Ontario (SCDSEO) de 2015. Les analyses de régression logistique ont été utilisées pour modéliser les associations entre un faible sentiment d’appartenance et la consommation d’opioïdes selon le sexe, l’année d’études, l’ethnie, le statut socioéconomique et les conditions de vie.

Résultats

En règle générale, un faible sentiment d’appartenance scolaire était associé à la consommation d’opioïdes sans ordonnance médicale (RC 1,11; IC à 95 % 1,05 à 1,17). Le sentiment d’insécurité à l’école (RC 1,43; IC à 95 % 1,23 à 1,66) était associé avec une probabilité plus élevée de consommer des opioïdes sans ordonnance médicale. Les filles qui avaient le sentiment de ne pas appartenir à leur communauté scolaire avaient une probabilité plus élevée de consommer des opioïdes (RC 1,35; IC à 95 % 1,16 à 1,56); cette association n’a pas été observée chez les garçons.

Conclusion

Les constatations suggèrent qu’un faible sentiment d’appartenance scolaire peut être associé à la consommation d’opioïdes sans ordonnance médicale chez les élèves. Ces constatations suggèrent que des interventions dans les écoles visant à améliorer la cohésion sociale et le sentiment d’appartenance et de sécurité peuvent contribuer à réduire la consommation d’opioïdes sans ordonnance chez les adolescents.

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Acknowledgements

This work was partly supported by the Research Council of Norway through its Centres of Excellence funding scheme, project number 262700, and by the Canada Research Chairs program (IC).

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SS, IC, HS, and HH contributed to the study conception and design. Data analysis was performed by SS. All authors interpreted results. The first draft of the manuscript was written by SS. All authors provided critical feedback and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Ian Colman.

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Syed, S., Sampasa-Kanyinga, H., Hamilton, H.A. et al. Low school belongingness and non-prescription opioid use among students in Ontario, Canada. Can J Public Health (2021). https://doi.org/10.17269/s41997-020-00460-w

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Keywords

  • School
  • Belongingness
  • Non-prescription opioid use
  • Adolescents

Mots-clés

  • École
  • sentiment d’appartenance
  • consommation d’opioïdes sans ordonnance
  • adolescents