Nova Scotians feel less healthy — experts believe excessive cannabis, alcohol use is to blame

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Nova Scotians aren’t feeling too healthy compared to other Canadian provinces.

A 2018 survey of the province from Statistics Canada showed that 20,300 fewer Nova Scotians described their health as “very good” or “excellent” when compared to the previous year — the number fell from 494,300 to 474,000 respondents.

An increase of 12,000 Nova Scotians described their general health as “fair” or “poor” – up to 128,000 from 116,000 in 2017.

The number of residents in the Maritime province who responded that their mental health was “fair” or “poor” also increased from 2017 to 2018.

Dr. Simon Sherry, a clinical psychologist and professor/director of clinical training at Dalhousie University in Halifax, says he isn’t far from astonished at the province’s results, saying Nova Scotians’ appreciation of certain substances may contribute to the problem.

“I think more so than many other provinces, Nova Scotians engage in health-compromising behaviours such as excessive cannabis use or excessive alcohol use,” Sherry told Truro News.  “In some ways, Nova Scotians love life a bit too much.”

Dr. Sherry says that Nova Scotia’s approach to drug consumption prioritizes the wrong factors.

“Our province hasn’t looked at cannabis, gambling and alcohol through the health promotion lens,” he told Truro News. “They’ve looked at it through the lens of generating income.”

Nova Scotia is one of the few places in Canada where liquor and cannabis can be sold together through Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation.

The province led the country last year in cannabis consumption, per StatsCan’s third quarter 2018 National Cannabis Survey. Nearly a quarter of the province’s residents over the age of 15 having consumed the drug in the previous three-month period, although it is important to note that correlation does not necessarily equal causation.

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