The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) released new data today showing that teen marijuana use has continued to decrease post legalization.
The newly released CDPHE data shows that from 2011 to 2013 the rate of current marijuana use among Colorado high school students has decreased from 22% to 20%; During the same time, CDC data shows that national teen marijuana usage remained virtually unchanged (2011: 23.1, 2013: 23.4)CDC Data. The CDPHE survey also shows that lifetime use by high school students has declined from 39 percent to 37 percent during the same two years.
Click here or look below to see the CDHPE release.
Statement from Michael Elliott, Executive Director of the the Marijuana Industry Group, on today’s report from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment about teen marijuana use:
“The Marijuana Industry Group is happy to see that teen marijuana use continues to decrease since Colorado licensed and regulated cannabis businesses.
As responsible business owners, MIG members will continue to partner with state and local government entities, and other stakeholders, on teen prevention campaigns.
Our members work hard to make sure their products don’t end up in the hands of those who shouldn’t have it. Unlike the black market, our members don’t sell to those under 21 and we talk to every customer about responsible use and storage.
The industry pledges to remain vigilant in encouraging responsible cannabis use and preventing underage use.”
Links to More Studies
“Legalizing medical marijuana doesn’t increase use among adolescents, study says.” Science Daily, April 23rd, 2014.
“ Teen marijuana use hasn’t exploded amid boom in legalization support, drug survey finds.” By Steven Nelson, US News & World Report. December 18, 2013.
News: New survey documents youth marijuana use, need for prevention
Fewer high school students in Colorado think using marijuana is risky.
Preliminary results from the 2013 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey show the percentage of students who perceived a moderate or great risk from marijuana use declined from 58 percent in 2011 to 54 percent in 2013.
The survey also shows cigarette use among high school students trending downward, at a faster pace than marijuana. Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director and chief medical officer for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment noted that public smoking bans, tobacco taxes, awareness campaigns and enforcement of underage tobacco sales account for the continued decrease in underage cigarette smoking.
“We know what works to protect young people from unhealthy substances,” Wolk said. “As with tobacco, youth prevention campaigns will help ensure adult legalization of marijuana in Colorado does not impact the health of Colorado kids.”
One in five Colorado high school students used marijuana in the past 30 days, and more than a third have used it at some point in their lives, the survey shows. Thirty-day marijuana use fell from 22 percent in 2011 to 20 percent in 2013, and lifetime use declined from 39 percent to 37 percent during the same two years. None of the declines shown in the preliminary data represent a statistically significant drop in rates.
But health experts worry that the normalization of marijuana use in Colorado could lead more young people to try it.
“If we want Colorado to be the healthiest state in the nation, then we need to make sure our youngest citizens understand the risks of using potentially harmful substances,” said Dr. Wolk. “Later this month, we’ll launch a youth prevention campaign that encourages kids not to risk damaging their growing brains by experimenting with marijuana.”
While studies show using marijuana has an effect on brain development, the extent of that effect will take years to determine conclusively. The campaign is designed to grab kids’ attention, present them with the existing science and empower them to make informed decisions.
The Healthy Kids Colorado Survey collects anonymous health information from Colorado middle and high school students every other year. In 2013, the state departments of health, education, and human services launched a unified version of the survey to approximately 40,000 randomly-selected students from more than 220 middle and high schools. Final state and regional results will be available this fall at http://www.chd.dphe.state.co.us/.