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Adolescent substance use from 2009 to 2019

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wanted to understand how adolescence affects substance use. They used CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System survey data from 2009 to 2019 to see how high schoolers were using different substances. They also looked at trends in adolescent substance use and which demographic factors were associated with substance use. They found current alcohol and lifetime cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and injection drug use decreased from 2009 to 2019; lifetime synthetic marijuana use decreased from 2015 to 2019; and, lifetime marijuana use increased from 2009 to 2013 but then decreased from 2013 to 2019. Among high schoolers in 2019, 29.2% reported current alcohol, marijuana, prescription opioid use and binge drinking. They also found that substance use varied by sex, race/ethnicity, grade, and sexual minority status.

The paper, “Prescription Opioid Misuse and Use of Alcohol and Other Substances Among High School Students — Youth Risk Behavior Survey, United States, 2019,” was funded by the CDC. It was published as a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report supplement.

Research & Resources