Teen marijuana use reports conflict after more states legalize, decriminalize drug

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There have been some conflicting reports on teen drug use, especially marijuana, as more states start to legalize the drug.

The Washington Post reports teen alcohol and drug use, including marijuana use, was down across the board in 2014.

The marijuana findings are particularly noteworthy given that Colorado and Washington state implemented full-scale retail marijuana markets this year, and Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., voters opted to do the same.  They report that, “there’s a substantial body of research showing that teen pot use hasn’t risen in the states that have legalized medical marijuana. In 2014, a year when marijuana was all over the news and national attitudes toward the drug are relaxing, teen use actually trended downward.”

On the other hand, a CNN survey with the National Institute on Drug Abuse shows marijuana rates are stable, even with the increase in the number of states that allow people to use marijuana recreationally. Some 6.5% of eighth graders said they had smoked marijuana in the past month, 16.6% of 10th graders did and 21.2% of 12th graders had, according to the survey.

That survey also found children are smoking fewer cigarettes, drinking less alcohol and abusing fewer prescription and synthetic drugs.

An unrelated study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics found that 29% of teens surveyed in Hawaii in 2013 used e-cigarettes, a number much higher than reported in previous surveys.

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