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Why has substance abuse among young people declined during the pandemic?

While it increased for adults during COVID, it decreased in younger people

HOUSTON — During COVID lockdowns, addiction specialist noticed a disturbing trend -- more adults turning to drugs and alcohol during this period of social isolation.

Researchers at West Virginia University wanted to see if young people were experiencing the same spike.  What they found was that teens and adolescents showed a drop in substance abuse during the pandemic.

We are talking everything from vaping to alcohol to marijuana. People under the age of 24 were using less.

So why the decrease?

The researchers believe that since children were staying home more thanks to virtual schooling and social distancing, they were spending more time with their families.

While that isolation took a toll on their mental health, they were less exposed to peers who could introduce destructive behavior. Also, by not hanging out with friends, they had less access to substances that can be abused.

While researchers say these findings are positive, since substance abuse can take a real toll on a young person’s development, more needs to be done to understand addiction issues in the young.

They also stressed the importance of improving mental health among kids and getting them access to care.

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