HealthDay News — The percentage of U.S. adolescents reporting drug use decreased significantly in 2021, according to a report published online Dec. 15.
Richard A. Miech, Ph.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues used data from the Monitoring the Future survey of substance use behaviors and related attitudes to examine the percentages of adolescents reporting substance use in 2021. A total of 32,260 surveys were collected from students enrolled across 319 U.S. schools.
According to the survey, there were significant decreases in the use of many substances, including alcohol, marijuana, and vaped nicotine from 2020 to 2021. There were significant decreases in the percentage of students in 10th and 12th grade using alcohol in the past year, from 40.7 to 28.5 percent and from 55.3 to 46.5 percent, respectively; the decrease for eighth graders was not significant (20.5 to 17.2 percent). Significant decreases were seen in the percentage of students reporting marijuana use, from 11.4 to 7.1 percent for eighth graders, from 28.0 to 17.3 percent for 10th graders, and from 35.2 to 30.5 percent for 12th graders. Significant decreases were also seen in the percentage of students in grades 8, 10, and 12 reporting vaping nicotine (16.6 to 12.1 percent; 30.7 to 19.5 percent; and 34.5 to 26.6 percent, respectively).
“We knew that this year’s data would illuminate how the COVID-19 pandemic may have impacted substance use among young people, and in the coming years, we will find out whether those impacts are long-lasting as we continue tracking the drug use patterns of these unique cohorts of adolescents,” Miech said in a statement.