Research & Resources

Temporal Trends in Alcohol, Cannabis, and Simultaneous Use Among 12th-Grade U.S. Adolescents from 2000 to 2020: Differences by Sex, Parental Education, and Race and Ethnicity

The 2000–2020 Monitoring the Future surveys collected data including information on simultaneous alcohol and cannabis use and pertinent demographic factors among approximately 38,000 U.S. 12th grade students. A five-level alcohol/cannabis measure included past-year simultaneous use, non-simultaneous alcohol and cannabis use, alcohol use only, cannabis use only, and no use. Between 2000 and 2020, simultaneous use among 12th graders decreased from 24.4% to 18.7%. From 2015 to 2020, the odds of simultaneous use and alcohol use only decreased, while the odds of cannabis use only increased. The prevalence of cannabis use only more than doubled from 2011 to 2019. The odds of simultaneous use, alcohol use only, and non-simultaneous alcohol and cannabis use declined more rapidly among males than females, whereas the odds for cannabis use only increased faster for females than males. Increases in cannabis use only were faster for non-White adolescents. The study showed that simultaneous alcohol and cannabis use is declining among U.S. adolescents, but the decline is slower among females than males. Declines in simultaneous use are largely concomitant with historical declines in alcohol use, indicating that a continued focus on reducing alcohol use among adolescents could have extended benefits to other adolescent substance use, even though cannabis use by this population without any reported past-year alcohol use more than doubled in the last decade.

This paper, “Temporal trends in alcohol, cannabis, and simultaneous use among 12th-grade U.S. adolescents from 2000 to 2020: Differences by sex, parental education, and race and ethnicity,” was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and experimental research .

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