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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

UNMC: Study finds a surge in use of marijuana among youth

Alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana (ACM) are commonly used substances that pose key issues affecting youth populations. Over the past decades, there have been substantial changes in the landscape of substance control policies. Smoke-free laws, increasing cigarette tax, raising the minimum age of smoking and drinking to 21 years, and restriction on advertising and marketing have been widely adopted to curb youth smoking and drinking. Meanwhile, public opinions on marijuana use have changed dramatically, and restrictions on marijuana use have been relaxing. In an article in the current issue of the American Journal of Public Health titled “Trends in Single, Dual, and Poly Use of Alcohol, Cigarettes, and Marijuana Among US High-School Students: 1991–2017,” Dr. Hongying Dai from the University of Nebraska Medical Center examined trends in patterns (single, dual, or poly) of current use of ACM among youths in the United States.

Dr. Dai used data from the 1991–2017 Youth Risk Behavior Surveys (n = 203 663) to report average annual percentage change (AAPC) and linear trends of single, dual, and poly use of ACM among youths. She found that  “… use patterns of ACM among youths have changed with marijuana-only use increased by 10-fold and dual use of marijuana and alcohol doubled from 1991 to 2017, especially among racial/ethnic minorities.” Given that there are fewer intervention programs to prevent youth marijuana use as compared with alcohol and cigarette use, the changes in substance use patterns highlight the importance of marijuana prevention among youths. Dr. Dai concludes, “… these findings underscore the needs to have comprehensive substance use control efforts with a special focus on marijuana prevention.”

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