WEDNESDAY, Dec. 28, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The reduced levels of adolescent cannabis use and nicotine vaping seen during the pandemic in 2021 continued into 2022, while alcohol use levels increased to prepandemic levels, according to the results of the Monitoring the Future survey.

Richard A. Miech, Ph.D., from the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research in Ann Arbor, and colleagues examined trends in the use of licit and illicit psychoactive drugs by U.S. adolescents. The key findings for use of various substances by U.S. eighth, 10th, and 12th graders are presented for 2022.

The authors note that after the onset of the pandemic in 2021, the levels of adolescent cannabis use and nicotine vaping decreased, and these reduced levels continued into 2022. In contrast, there was a significant increase seen in levels of alcohol use between 2021 and 2022, returning to prepandemic levels. These substances have the highest levels of use among teenagers. Among 12th graders, there were significant increases seen in past 30-day use of cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin and in past 12-month use of prescription opioids; the levels of use returned to, but did not surpass, prepandemic levels. Prescribed use of medications for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder increased significantly in 2022 among 12th-grade students.

“We were curious to see whether the significant decreases in substance use we observed last year would continue into the future, and we now see that there may indeed be a longer lasting impact for some substances,” Miech said in a statement. “The fact that cannabis use and nicotine vaping did not appear to return to prepandemic levels in 2022 is a fascinating data point. Moving forward, it will be important to continue to monitor these trends to understand the impact on future drug use behavior and outcomes.”

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