Colorado survey finds marijuana use declining among high school students

The Colorado Department of Health and Environment released its bi-annual Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS) on Monday, showing that marijuana use among the state’s high school students has declined since before recreational use of the drug was legalized in 2012.

Specifically, previous 30-day marijuana use dropped to 21.2 percent in 2015, according to the roughly 17,000 students who responded to the questionnaire, compared to 22 percent in 2011 and 25 percent in 2009.

By comparison, previous 30-day use of the drug stood at 21.7 percent nationally in 2015, according to HKCS.

“The survey shows marijuana use has not increased since legalization, with four of five high school students continuing to say they don’t use marijuana, even occasionally,” the state’s Department of Health said in a statement.

Results of the HKCS survey contradict the results of a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released in December 2015, which found Colorado had the highest rate of “past month” marijuana use among 12 to 17 year-olds.  

In 2011-2012, Colorado ranked fourth among the 50 states in the HHS survey, and third in 2012-2013.

Interestingly, the HKCS survey reported that 48 percent of Colorado high school students think that marijuana use is “risky”, down from 54 percent in 2013 — a development that Diane Carlson of the anti-marijuana advocacy group Smart Colorado says is “deeply concerning”.

“Youth marijuana use can have lifelong implications,” said Carlson. “The risks, which include psychosis, suicide, drug addiction and lower IQs, have been reported based on research on much lower THC potencies than are typically sold on Colorado’s commercial market.”

HKCS also found that 62 percent of survey-takers have never used marijuana in their life, while only 41 percent said they have never drank alcohol; 80 percent claimed to have never smoked a cigarette.


[Reuters via] [Denver Post] [Photo courtesy]