Chris G Richardson, PhD


BASUS (the BC Adolescent Substance Use Survey) is a multi-year study of BC teenagers’ attitudes about, and experiences with, tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs. This web-based survey followed a group of approximately 3000 teenagers through several years of high school.

There were seven ‘waves’ of data collection beginning in October 2009 and continuing until the end of 2012. Surveys were conducted twice per year, between April and June and October and December. Most participants were in grade 8 or 9 when they enrolled in the study.

A pilot study for BASUS was conducted in June 2009. This pilot study involved about 45 teenagers aged 13 and 14 years who were in grade 8, and mainly living in the Lower Mainland. This pilot study gave the BASUS team a chance to test the survey and make changes and improvements before the main survey started. Participants from the pilot study were eligible to take all subsequent surveys as well.

The surveys included questions about a number of topics, such as:

  • Experiences with, and opinions about, tobacco
  • Experiences with, and opinions about, alcohol
  • Experiences with, and opinions about, drugs
  • Friends’ and family members’ use of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs
  • Sense of connection to school, school performance, and plans for post-seondary education
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Internet use
  • Physical health and development
  • Experiences of discrimination
  • Recent significant/stressful life experiences
  • Things like self-esteem, resilience, depression, impulsivity, attachment style, quality of life
  • Relationships with parents/caregivers and other adults
  • Demographic information