A new study shows that in the time after first trying cannabis or first misusing prescription drugs, the percentages of young people who develop the corresponding substance use disorder are higher among adolescents (ages 12-17) than young adults (ages 18-25). In addition, 30% of young adults develop a heroin use disorder and 25% develop a methamphetamine use disorder a year after first using heroin or methamphetamine. These findings, published in JAMA Pediatrics, emphasize the vulnerability of young people to developing substance use disorders.
The researchers found that the prevalence of past-year cannabis use disorder was higher for adolescents than young adults at all examined time frames since first use of the drug. For example, within 12 months since first cannabis use, 10.7% of adolescents had cannabis use disorder versus 6.4% of young adults.