What The Latest Data Says About Cannabis, Drug, And Alcohol Use Among Young People

New research shows that cannabis use among college students is not only widespread, but it’s also increasing. In fact, “the vast majority of respondents in this study reported using the drug at least once.” This data provides a useful perspective on anti-drug education efforts and how well they’re working to prevent young people from developing substance abuse problems.

According to the “teenage drinking statistics 2021”, cannabis use among teenagers has been on the rise. There is a strong correlation between alcohol and cannabis use, but not all teens are using both substances.

What The Latest Data Says About Cannabis, Drug, And Alcohol Use Among Young People

According to the most recent statistics on national drug usage and health in 2020, a positive trend emerged among America’s younger demographic: pre-teens and adolescents exhibited considerably less interest in inebriating substances like cannabis, alcohol, and other narcotics.


The use of cannabis among young people declined dramatically between 2019 and 2020, according to statistics released by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) earlier this week in the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

There is plenty of evidence that the rate of cannabis use among children has been steadily declining as more states legalize the drug, so the sustained decline in usage isn’t surprising. Underage drinking, as well as illegal drug usage, such as hallucinogens and cocaine, and prescription medication abuse, declined in 2020.

While the Covid-19 epidemic may be to blame for reduced rates of drug and alcohol usage among youngsters, the sober-curious movement’s rising effect should not be overlooked.

Breaking It Down: Cannabidiol (Cannabis)

When it comes to cannabis, lifetime usage among kids aged 12 to 17 declined from 15.8% in 2019 to 12.4 percent in 2020, whereas use in the previous year fell by 25%, from 13.2% to 10.1 percent. In comparison to 2019, the same age group witnessed a 20% decrease in past-month usage.

This is in line with data that demonstrates that when cannabis is legalized, kids are less likely to use it, particularly with so many states planning to legalize it by 2020.

Use Of Tobacco, Nicotine, And Other Substances

Cigarettes have declined in popularity among Americans of all ages, and kids were not exempt from this trend in 2020, with lifetime tobacco product usage among those aged 12 to 17 dropping from 12.8 to 9.3 percent. 

Close Up Of Teenager Boy Offering Girl Cigarette


The same might be said about cigars and smokeless tobacco. SAMSHA just started collecting data on nicotine vaping in 2020, so it’s unclear if vaping rates have decreased year over year. However, according to data from the government’s National Teenage Tobacco Survey, youth vaping rates have declined from 27.5 percent in 2019 to 11.3 percent in 2021.

While they aren’t very high among kids to begin with, it’s worth noting that rates of cocaine, hallucinogens, inhalants, and methamphetamine use, as well as the abuse of prescription medicines like stimulants and sedatives, have decreased.

Although alcohol use is decreasing, it is still higher than the national average.

Young people drank less alcohol in 2020 than they had in previous years, although considering the prevalence of underage drinking, it was still consumed at far greater rates than cannabis or cigarettes.

In 2019, 26.7 percent of persons aged 12 to 17 reported lifetime alcohol use, compared to 22.8 percent in 2020, whereas consumption in the previous year declined from 21.2 to 18.5 percent. The utilization of the past month was much lower, falling from 9.4% to 8.2%.

There’s no doubt that reducing consumption of any and all mind-altering substances among young people with developing brains is a good thing, but that doesn’t mean that these substances should be treated equally: a study published earlier this year found that abstinence from cannabis can lead to increased alcohol use in young people who already use it.

These differences should not be missed as we transition from old drug-war ideas to new ones that concentrate on harm reduction.

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The “has drug use increased in 2020” is a question that has been asked many times. The answer to the question is unclear, but it seems like drug use has increased in 2020.

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