Colorado, Washington, Nevada, and  Massachusetts Post Increases in Youth Use Over Previous Year

(Alexandria, VA) - Today, state-level data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the most authoritative study on drug use conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), finds that marijuana use in "legal" states among youth, young adults, and the general population continued its multi-year upward trend in several categories. 

Additionally, use rates in "legal" states continue to drastically outstrip the use in states that have not legalized the drug. Highlights include:

  • Past-month marijuana use among young people aged 18-25 in "legal" states has increased 8 percent in the last year (30.94% versus 28.62%). Use in this age group is 50 percent higher in "legal" states than in non-legal states (30.94% versus 20.66%).
     
  • Past-month youth use (aged 12-17) in states with commercial sales continued its recent upward trend. Since last year, "legal" Washington experienced the largest surge in past month youth use with an 11 percent increase (9.94% versus 8.96%). Colorado experienced a four percent increase (9.39% versus 9.02%). 
     
  • Massachusetts overtook Colorado as the top-ranking state for overall first-time use, which is now number two.
     
  • Past-month youth use in "legal" states is 40% higher than in non-legal states (8.92% versus 6.26%). Past-year youth use in "legal" states is roughly 30% higher than in non-legal states (15.82% versus 12.10%).
     
  • First-time youth use in "legal" states is 30% higher than non-legal states (6.96% versus 5.38%)

"This data show the marijuana industry is achieving its goal of hooking our kids on today's highly potent marijuana," said Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) and a former senior drug policy advisor to the Obama Administration. "As we learned just this week from the Monitoring the Future survey, the number of young people who perceive marijuana as being harmful is at a historic low. Given the recent data linking high potency marijuana with serious mental health issues, addiction, and future substance abuse, this is extremely concerning. We call on Congress and the President now to stop helping the pot industry and commence a science based information campaign about the dangers of today's marijuana products."

Research has shown that the adolescent brain - particularly the part of the brain that regulates planning for complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision making and social behavior - is not fully developed until the early to mid-20s. Developing brains are especially susceptible to all of the negative effects of marijuana and other drug use. Given the drastic increase in marijuana use we are witnessing in this age group in "legalized" states, there should be great cause for concern. 

"This data, combined with yesterday's Monitoring the Future study, and the statements from the overwhelming majority of doctors, educators, substance abuse professionals and parents, must be our guide to changing the current discourse," continued Dr. Sabet. "We cannot allow Big Marijuana to continue to deceive the American people for their bottom line." 

 

Dr Kevin Sabet – Co-Founder,

 

sam

Expert Tour Presenters are…

Dr. Karen Randall FAAEM

  • Chairman of the Board, SCEMA

  • VP of Case Management, SCEMA

  • Certified in Cannabis Science & Medicine

    Dr. Karen Randall trained in family medicine, pediatrics and emergency medicine.

    She worked at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit teaching emergency medicine in a large academic program and was teacher of the year several times.

    Dr. Karen is part of a large emergency medicine group called Southern Colorado Emergency Medicine Associates (SCEMA). She is both chairman of the board of SCEMA, and the Vice President of case management.

    With regards to cannabis - Dr. Karen is certified in Cannabis Science & Medicine through the University of Vermont. She has spoken internationally and across the US about the harms of cannabis.

    Dr. Karen recently published an article about emergency medicine presentations in Missouri Medicine.

    In her spare time, Dr. Karen, takes care of medically needy rescue dachshunds that no one wants. She says they are a handful, but they keep her grounded.

Lynn Riemer (A.C.T. on Drugs)

Lynn Riemer has a regional and National reputation as a speaker, trainer, and advocate on the issues related to substance abuse.

As an experienced chemist (DEA) and prior member of the North Metro Drug Task Force in Colorado, her experience and engaging style brings a real, personal, and vivid face to the issues presented by illicit drug use.

Lynn speaks regularly with students, community child advocacy groups, industrial and professional groups, and employees of local and State governmental agencies. She addresses drug awareness, recognition, and prevention.

While working with the North Metro Drug Task Force she developed intensive programs used to train emergency and community service workers in the handling of hazardous waste and the management of clandestine labs.

Additionally, she has been a member of governmental committees to create regulations for meth clean up in the state of Colorado.

Lynn has co-chaired the Drug Endangered Children program, as well as worked to create new laws protecting children who are living in homes where meth is manufactured.

She is a co-author of the book “The Methamphetamine Crisis: Strategies to Save Addicts, Families, and Communities” and received the Community Champion for Children Award from Adams & Broomfield CASA in 2010.

In 2018 Lynn received the 7Everyday Hero Award (presented to Coloradans who are making a difference in their community).