Media Release 16 September 2020
Last week, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration released the 2019 Annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), the most comprehensive survey on drug use.
One of the disturbing findings was that some 699,000 youth aged 12-17 have an addiction to marijuana in 2019 – representing 187,000 new youth with a Cannabis Use Disorder in 2019 versus 2018. Overall, more than 4.8 million people aged 12 or older reported Marijuana Use Disorder in 2019, up from 4.4 million in 2018.
Also, past year and past month marijuana use among youth have increased markedly since legalisation began in several states in 2016. Past month use among youth aged 12-17 increased 14% since 2016 while past year use among the same age group rose 10%.
The report specifically pointed out Colorado’s data, the first state to legalise marijuana, in comparison to national data. Among those aged 18-25, Colorado’s rates of past month, past year, and co-occurring mental illness with marijuana use disorder, were far higher than the national data.
“This latest governmental data puts to rest the wild claims by drug advocates in New Zealand that somehow – and miraculously – youth use of drugs is going to decline if we legalise cannabis,” says spokesperson Aaron Ironside.
This report was released in the same week as a new study by researchers from the University of Queensland which found that if cannabis was legalised in Australia, 1 in 6 Australian adolescents and 1 in 3 Australian young adults who had not used the drug would try or use it.
A new survey released by the state of Colorado just last month found that marijuana use has skyrocketed in the last two years with nearly 21% of young people in the state reporting past month use. Notably, use in young teens (aged 15 and younger) has increased 15.5% from 2017 (the last time data was collected). According to the data, part of the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, since 2017, past month marijuana use among those aged 15 or younger has increased 14.8%, 16 or 17-year-olds has increased 3.0%, and 18 or older has increased 1.9%. Overall, marijuana use amongst all age groups has risen 6.2%.
In Canada, past 12-month use of cannabis among people aged 16 to 19 years was 44% (an increase from 36% in 2018) and those aged 20 to 24 was 51%, (an increase from 44% in 2018), according to Health Canada, 2019.