THURSDAY, Dec. 16, 2021 (HealthDay Information) — There could also be a silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic, with U.S. well being officers reporting an “unprecedented” decline in teenagers’ use of alcohol, marijuana, different unlawful medication and vaping.
“We’ve got by no means seen such dramatic decreases in drug use amongst teenagers in only a one-year interval,” mentioned Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the U.S. Nationwide Institute on Drug Abuse.
“These information are unprecedented and spotlight one surprising potential consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought on seismic shifts within the day-to-day lives of adolescents,” she added in an institute information launch.
From 2020 to 2021 — the primary yr of the pandemic — charges of past-year alcohol use fell from about 55% to round 47% amongst twelfth graders, and from almost 41% to round 29% amongst tenth graders. Eighth-grade ingesting dipped from about 21% to simply over 17%, in line with the survey outcomes.
Charges of past-year marijuana use additionally decreased, falling from round 11% to about 7% amongst eighth graders, and from 28% to 17% amongst tenth graders. Pot use dropped from round 35% to lower than 31% amongst twelfth graders, the findings confirmed.
The findings are from the College of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future survey. It’s given yearly to college students in grades 8, 10 and 12.
Vaping’s recognition charges additionally fell after COVID-19’s emergence. It stays the predominant methodology of nicotine consumption amongst younger individuals, who might not acknowledge the dangers related to e-cigarettes.
Charges of past-year nicotine vaping fell from almost 17% to 12% amongst eighth graders, from about 31% to lower than 20% amongst tenth graders, and from roughly 35% to about 27% amongst twelfth graders.
The 2021 lower in vaping for each marijuana and tobacco was particularly welcome, because it follows sharp will increase in use between 2017 and 2019.
Nonetheless, extra could possibly be performed to curb teen vaping, in line with Matthew Myers, president of the advocacy group Marketing campaign for Tobacco-Free Children. In an announcement, he mentioned that “to finish the youth e-cigarette epidemic for good, the FDA should clear the market of all flavored or high-nicotine e-cigarettes – together with menthol merchandise – and crack down on corporations looking for to evade regulation with artificial nicotine.”
In one other encouraging pattern, past-year use of any illicit drug apart from marijuana additionally fell throughout all three grades, declining to simply underneath 5% in 2021 amongst eighth graders, to simply over 5% amongst sophomores, and to a bit greater than 7% amongst highschool seniors.
Vital declines in use had been additionally reported throughout a variety of medicine, together with cocaine, hallucinogens, and nonmedical use of amphetamines, tranquilizers and prescription opioids.
“Shifting ahead, it will likely be essential to establish the pivotal components of this previous yr that contributed to decreased drug use — whether or not associated to drug availability, household involvement, variations in peer strain, or different components — and harness them to tell future prevention efforts,” Volkow mentioned.
This yr, the survey additionally requested college students about their psychological well being throughout the pandemic — a topic of a lot curiosity nationally. Respondents in all age teams reported reasonable will increase in emotions of boredom, nervousness, melancholy, loneliness, fear, issue sleeping and different detrimental psychological well being indicators.
The present survey included greater than 32,000 individuals at almost 320 private and non-private colleges nationwide. It was carried out from February by means of June 2021. About half the scholars recognized as white, virtually 17% as Hispanic, about 11% as Black, 5% as Asian and 0.9% as American Indian or Alaska Native. Nearly 14% recognized as a number of.
Richard Miech, the paper’s lead creator and survey staff chief, mentioned, “We knew that this yr’s information would illuminate how the COVID-19 pandemic might have impacted substance use amongst younger individuals, and within the coming years, we are going to discover out whether or not these impacts are long-lasting as we proceed monitoring the drug use patterns of those distinctive cohorts of adolescents.”
A follow-up survey of twelfth graders who participated within the 2020 Monitoring the Future examine was carried out in mid-July and mid-August 2020. It discovered their marijuana use and binge ingesting didn’t considerably change throughout the first six months of the pandemic, regardless of report decreases within the substances’ perceived availability.
The follow-up findings problem the concept lowering teen use of medicine may be achieved solely by limiting their provide, in line with the paper.
The Nemours Basis has drug info for teenagers.
SOURCE: U.S. Nationwide Institute on Drug Abuse, information launch, Dec. 15, 2021; Marketing campaign for Tobacco-Free Children, assertion