New statewide research: Colorado teens see marijuana as less risky & use remains high

June 20, 2016


Fewer Colorado high school students view regular marijuana use as risky behavior, according to the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS), which was released today.

Only 48 percent of high school students surveyed saw marijuana use as risky in 2015, compared to 54 percent of those surveyed in the HKCS survey two years earlier.

While youth tobacco use has declined, high school marijuana use inched up, the HKCS data shows.

Twenty one percent of Colorado high school students used marijuana at least once in the last month, the HKCS shows. Even more troubling, high school use is reported as high as 30.1 percent in some parts of Colorado, according to the HKCS.

Meanwhile, only 9 percent of Colorado high schools students reported smoking a cigarette at least once in the last 30 days. 

The HKCS collects health information every odd year from Colorado public school students. The data released today was collected in 2015.

While the HKCS says Colorado high school youth marijuana use is in line with national data, Colorado ranks first in the nation for past month marijuana usage by those 12-17 years old, according to National Surveys on Drug Use and Health data released in December by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Colorado voters were promised marijuana would be kept out of the hands of Colorado kids.  And yet, after  three and half years of commercialized recreational marijuana and after over six years of commercialized medical marijuana, that has yet to happen,” said Diane Carlson, a co-founder of Smart Colorado.

“Meanwhile, the perception of harm from consuming marijuana for high school students is on the decline according to the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, which is deeply concerning as much of Colorado’s marijuana has become an increasingly different, harder, stronger drug,” Carlson added.

“Youth marijuana use can have lifelong implications.  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. That means the risks and harms for Colorado kids using today’s pot are far more serious and potentially long lasting. And yet too few Colorado kids are aware of just how harmful and risky today’s high-potency pot can be.”

 View and download the 2015 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey on our Resource page here. 

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