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
APR 07, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
Bongs and Fine Particle Exposure
APR 07, 2022
Bongs and Fine Particle Exposure
A recent study published in Journal of American Medical Association measured fine particulate matter levels from social ...
APR 14, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
Delta 10 is weird. Here's why.
APR 14, 2022
Delta 10 is weird. Here's why.
Delta 10 is weird. Here's why.
MAY 13, 2022
Health & Medicine
Increased Mental Health Risks Linked to High Potency Cannabis Concentrates
MAY 13, 2022
Increased Mental Health Risks Linked to High Potency Cannabis Concentrates
As more states legalize cannabis for medical and recreational purposes, the association between excessive cannabis consu ...
JUL 01, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
Cannabis And Aging
JUL 01, 2022
Cannabis And Aging
How does cannabis affect our aging process? Does it accelerate it or slow it down?
JUL 14, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
Why Does Weed Smell?
JUL 14, 2022
Why Does Weed Smell?
What is behind the aroma of cannabis? Here's the science involved in why weed smells the way it does.
SEP 22, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
Study of Regulations and Risks Associated with Growing Recreational and Medical Cannabis Market
SEP 22, 2022
Study of Regulations and Risks Associated with Growing Recreational and Medical Cannabis Market
A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives advises state and federal regulators to assess the health and saf ...
Loading Comments...