No Change in Overall Rate of Alcohol, Drug Use Among Adolescents During Pandemic

By Cara Murez, HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Aug. 24, 2021 (HealthDay News) – The coronavirus pandemic has posed significant challenges for many, but it did not appear to drive U.S. preteens and young teens to drugs.

Repeated surveys of more than 7,800 10- to 14-year-olds between September 2019 and August 2020 found the overall rate of drug use remained stable, according to the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). What did change was their drugs of choice: Alcohol use fell, while use of prescription drugs and tobacco products rose.

“Adolescents have experienced a year of turmoil and stress in precarious space between childhood and adulthood,” said NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow.

“Recognizing how the stress of the past year translates into substance use has profound implications into adulthood, because drinking and drug use at these ages are associated with a substantially higher risk of long-term alcohol and drug use disorders and related harms,” Volkow said in a NIDA news release.

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