JUN 24, 2022 5:00 AM PDT

Decrease in Youth Substance Use During the Pandemic

WRITTEN BY: Kerry Charron

A review published in Child and Family Disaster Psychiatry found that youth substance use declined during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis (PRISMA) to design and execute the review, West Virginia University researchers reviewed 49 studies that focused on adolescent use of alcohol, cannabis, tobacco, and e-cigarette/vaping. The majority of the studies reported reductions in prevalence of all categories of adolescent substance use.

People under the age of 24 reduced their use of vaping, and consumption of alcohol and other drugs dropped during the pandemic. Social distancing, stay-at-home orders, remote schooling, and spending more time with families rather than friends mean youth were less exposed to peers who might introduce them to substances. Drug and alcohol experimentation often happens outside the home, but pandemic social distancing practices drastically limited opportunities for peer substance use activity.

The WVU researchers stressed the importance of raising awareness of health risks associated with adolescent substance abuse. According to doctoral student Hannah Layman, “Substance use can affect a young person’s body in many ways such as the development of mental health issues (depression, anxiety, conduct problems, personality disorders and suicidal thoughts), injuries due to accidents, decreased bone mineral density, preventing proper brain growth and function, delayed puberty, liver damage and so much more.” She explained that early intervention, increasing substance use awareness, access to quality mental health services, and support and supervision from guardians and parents are critical for reducing adolescent substance abuse rates. 

The WVU research team plans to investigate differential risks across vulnerable teen populations and sex differences influencing use patterns. Teens who navigate challenging family dynamics or who live in resource-deficit communities may turn to substance abuse to cope with adverse conditions. Covariates of socioeconomic status and social determinants of mental health are critical to understanding how to best support youth at risk. 

Sources: Child and Family Disaster Psychiatry, West Virginia University School of Public Health

 

About the Author
BA and MA in English, MPS in Human Relations, and Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration
Kerry Charron writes about medical cannabis research. She has experience working in a Florida cultivation center and has participated in advocacy efforts for medical cannabis.
You May Also Like
FEB 08, 2022
Health & Medicine
What do we know about THC-O?
FEB 08, 2022
What do we know about THC-O?
  As the synthetic cannabis compound THC-O acetate gains popularity among consumers, the medical community is calli ...
APR 07, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
Thinking of trying THC-O? Read this first
APR 07, 2022
Thinking of trying THC-O? Read this first
Thinking of trying THC-O? Read this first
APR 09, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
Advances in Cannabis Sciences at the 2022 Labroots Virtual Event
APR 09, 2022
Advances in Cannabis Sciences at the 2022 Labroots Virtual Event
Labroots hosted its 5th annual Cannabis Science Virtual Event on March 23, 2022. The speaker roster for this free confer ...
MAY 25, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
NYU Researchers Find CBD effectively Reduces Post Operative Pain
MAY 25, 2022
NYU Researchers Find CBD effectively Reduces Post Operative Pain
  An NYU research study found that a cannabidiol (CBD) tablet safely and effectively reduced post-operative pain. T ...
JUL 08, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
The Latest Research on Cannabis Social Equity Programs
JUL 08, 2022
The Latest Research on Cannabis Social Equity Programs
Cannabis social equity programs are designed to increase licensure and employment opportunities for lower income and BIP ...
JUL 07, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
Does Pot Make You More Creative?
JUL 07, 2022
Does Pot Make You More Creative?
Does THC enchance or inhibit the creative process? Does it make you better at your craft, or worse?
Loading Comments...