Another Survey Finds Legal Pot Hasn’t Sent Teen Use Higher
American teenagers are not using marijuana in greater numbers even as states have legalized the drug for adult recreational use, a third national survey has found.
In fact, past-month marijuana use is on a two-decade slide among high school students, according to a statistical analysis of results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, published Thursday.
The survey is conducted every other year among a representative sample of U.S. high school students. The 2015 results indicate a statistically significant downward trend in past-month marijuana use since 1995 and a downward trend in lifetime use since 1997.
Despite increasingly liberal state laws and public attitudes, students’ reported lifetime pot use fell more than 2 percentage points to 38.6 percent in 2015. Past-month use slipped more slightly to 21.7 percent, though neither change is itself statistically significant.
The results mirror the 2015 Monitoring the Future survey, whose eighth-, 10th- and 12th-grade respondents reported a collective non-statistically significant drop in past-month use, from 14.4 percent in 2014 to 14 percent, even as they viewed pot use as less risky.
A third federally funded survey, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, found in 2014 that reported past-month pot use among people ages 12 to 17 ticked up from 7.1 percent in 2013 to 7.4 percent, a non-statistically significant increase and still below the 2011 rate of 7.9 percent. The 2015 results of that survey have not been released.
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