Culture Post: Pandemic Saw Big Declines in Kids’ Use of Drugs, Alcohol, Vaping

*The following is excerpted from an online article posted by HealthDay.

There may be a silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic, with U.S. health officials reporting an “unprecedented” decline in teens’ use of alcohol, marijuana, other illegal drugs, and vaping.

“We have never seen such dramatic decreases in drug use among teens in just a one-year period,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse.

“These data are unprecedented and highlight one unexpected potential consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused seismic shifts in the day-to-day lives of adolescents,” she added in an institute news release.

From 2020 to 2021 — the first year of the pandemic — rates of past-year alcohol use fell from about 55% to around 47% among 12th graders, and from nearly 41% to around 29% among 10th graders. Eighth-grade drinking dipped from about 21% to just over 17%, according to the survey results.

Rates of past-year marijuana use also decreased, falling from around 11% to about 7% among 8th graders, and from 28% to 17% among 10th graders. Pot use dropped from around 35% to less than 31% among 12th graders, the findings showed.

Vaping’s popularity rates also fell after COVID-19’s emergence. Rates of past-year nicotine vaping fell from nearly 17% to 12% among 8th graders, from about 31% to less than 20% among 10th graders, and from roughly 35% to about 27% among 12th graders.

The 2021 decrease in vaping for both marijuana and tobacco was especially welcome, as it follows sharp increases in use between 2017 and 2019.

Other significant declines in use were also reported across a wide range of drugs, including cocaine, hallucinogens, and nonmedical use of amphetamines, tranquilizers, and prescription opioids.

The findings are from the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future survey. It is given annually to students in grades 8, 10, and 12.

Source: HealthDay

Find more culture news on HomeWord’s Culture Blog, named in 2021 for the sixth consecutive year, as one of the top 50 culture blogs on the planet!

Help us reach the next generation of families

Back to Top

[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on and Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

  • About HomeWord

    HomeWord helps families succeed by creating Biblical resources that build strong marriages, confident parents, empowered kids and healthy leaders. Founded by Jim Burns, HomeWord seeks to advance the work of God in the world by educating, equipping, and encouraging parents and churches. Learn More »

  • Support Our Mission

    HomeWord is non-profit, donor supported ministry. If you would like to partner with HomeWord in our effort to help more parents and families you can make a donation. Your investment will allow us to expand this ministry by offering more resources to families and churches in need.

  • Contact Information

    • HomeWord
      PO Box 1600
      San Juan Capistrano, CA

    • Send us an email

    • 800-397-9725
      (M-F: 8:30am-5pm PST)