August 24, 2022
There are any number of ways for kids to access, use, and conceal THC products. Results from the 2021 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS) shed light on the current status of use by our kids and the opportunity for adults that care about kids to positively influence youth.
Please use this information as a starting point for further learning and thoughtful discussions with your family and friends. Please share widely with those that care about kids!
Why it matters:
Information is power. Several indicators of youth substance use (marijuana as well as alcohol and tobacco) improved from the 2019 survey, to the most recent survey. This may be one upside to the pandemic. While lockdowns and remote learning significantly disrupted the social and home life for all of us; this may have led to more parental awareness, discussions, monitoring and involvement by parents.
Hopefully these numbers continue on their current trajectory.
2021 HKCS Key Takeaways - High School Student - Marijuana Use
- 13.3% of youth used marijuana within the past month - decrease from 20.6% in 2019
- 40.3% of youth feel it would be easy to get marijuana if they wanted - decrease from 51.4%
- 60.4% of youth think regular marijuana use is risky - increase from 50.1% in 2019
More good news is that the percentage of high school students who think parents, guardians and adults in their neighborhood would feel using is wrong or very wrong increased for tobacco, alcohol and marijuana.
What you need to know:
The Healthy Kids Colorado Survey is given bi-annually to students across the state of Colorado. The 2021 survey included 106,799 middle and high school students.
CDPHE acknowledges results from the 2021 survey should not be directly compared to previous years because of Covid-19. Students in most cases were unable to socialize as they had in the past at school, during activities and even with their close circle of friends and family.
A few of our biggest takeaways:
1) There is a misperception by kids that most of their peers use marijuana.
2) Early experimentation and initiation is concerning.
3) Use of high potency concentrates is increasing.
4) Kids are driving while high.
5) Kids are getting marijuana from dispensaries and adults.
Research shows that kids think their friends use marijuana more than they actually do. Educating that actual peer use rates are lower than the perception may be one of the greatest opportunities to slow the desire to experiment with marijuana.
- 16.7% of middle school students think half of their class used marijuana in the last 30 days. In fact, only: 3.0% responded that they used in the last 30 days.
- 39.5% of high school students think half of their class used marijuana in the last 30 days. In fact, only: 13.3% responded that they used in the last 30 days.
The earlier youth use begins, the more likely negative impacts such as declining IQ, lower school performance and developing a dependence, can translate into reduced life satisfaction down the road. Students of all ages need to be given accurate information on the adverse consequences of using marijuana so that they can make an informed decision.