An investigation into youth addiction to different drugs was conducted by the Department of Health in the state of Utah. 50,237 students were surveyed between February and April 2017. The goal of the study was to better understand student relationships to certain products: tobacco and alcohol, of course, but also other drugs and electronic cigarettes.
The results showed that more than 20% of middle schoolers surveyed vaped at some point during the period of the study. A similar percentage also consumed alcohol. 11.9% of students had tried tobacco, and the study revealed that 12.4% of those surveyed had tried marijuana.
Amongst older students, the percentage of those who consumed alcohol jumped to 31.8%. Additionally, almost 33% of the older age group had already smoked at least once in their life. Another worrying statistic: 60% of students who had had an alcoholic drink in the last 30 days had also vaped. This would suggest that these youngsters are dependant on multiple substances.
The importance of educating young people about the harmful effects of certain substances
In the United States of America, the legal drinking age is 21 years old, and you must be at least 19 years of age to smoke cigarettes or e-cigarettes. But according to studies, a large majority of middle schoolers try e-cigarettes in order to discover new flavours contained in e-liquids.
For the various people fighting against addiction, it is imperative that associations and governmental services work together to eradicate all forms of addiction amongst young people.
Brittany Karzen, spokesperson for the Department of Health’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Program, highlights the dangers of young people using certain products. Indeed, because young people’s brains are still forming, they are especially vulnerable to the toxic effects of certain drugs. Also, students who consume certain substances like nicotine risk becoming addicted before they even reach adulthood.