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Unexpected impact of pandemic on US teens revealed

Substance use among school students across the US decreased significantly during the Covid-19 pandemic, a massive self-reported annual survey has found.

The drop in substance use among teenagers was reported in the annual Monitoring the Future survey commissioned by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). More than 32,000 eighth, 10th, and 12th graders enrolled in 319 public and private schools across the US participated in the survey.

Children aged 13 to 14 are usually in the eighth grade, while 10th graders are typically aged 15 to 16, and 12th graders are aged 17 to 18.

Out of those surveyed, 28.5% of 10th graders and 46.5% of 12th graders said they drank alcohol in the past year, compared to 40.7% and 55.3% in 2020 respectively. The self-reported use of other drugs also decreased. 

Marijuana use among eighth, 10th, and 12th graders fell to 7.1%, 17.3%, and 30.5% respectively, all down from the previous survey.

As for vaping, a little over 12% of eighth graders, as well as 19.5% of 10th graders, and 26.6% of 12th graders, said they vaped nicotine in the past year, all significant drops from the 2020 survey.

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“We have never seen such dramatic decreases in drug use among teens in just a one-year period,” NIDA director Nora Volkow said, adding that the change may have been a “potential consequence” of the pandemic.

Volkow said more work needs to be done to identify the precise causes of the change in teen behavior. She listed “drug availability, family involvement, differences in peer pressure” among the factors that may have contributed to the drops.

Richard Miech, who led the Monitoring the Future study at the University of Michigan, said that in the coming years, researchers will find out if the possible impacts of the pandemic constitute “long-lasting” trends in the decrease of substance use.

At the same time, researchers noted “a slight drop” in response rates across all age groups. They also said that this year, 40% of the students took the survey in schools, while 60% did so online from home. Students surveyed from home “may not have had the same privacy or may not have felt as comfortable truthfully reporting substance use as they would at school, when they are away from their parents,” NIDA said in a statement.

The study also found that students have reported “moderate increases” in negative mental health indicators since the beginning of the pandemic, such as feelings of boredom, loneliness, anxiety, worry, depression, and difficulty sleeping.

https://ift.tt/3pWOSWT 16, 2021 at 04:11PM
from RT – Daily news

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