There are varying opinions about the recreational use of marijuana. Most of us can agree that young kids should delay or avoid using substances. Developing brains, like the ones in our middle and high school students, can be altered from early substance use[i]. What we do know is the number of school aged youth using cannabis in Vermont has increased. We also know that parents and guardians play a big role in a kid’s decisions about using substances like cannabis.
The 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey[i] shows that the number of Vermont middle and high school students using cannabis has increased since the last survey in 2017. The survey also stated that as our youth move into high school, they are more likely to have tried using marijuana. Students reported that by 12th grade a third will have used marijuana within the previous month[ii]. It is easy for young people to think that “everyone is doing it”, even though only 33% of their peers are. Another statistic important to note is how they are using cannabis. The number of students that reported using a vaping device to ingest cannabis in 2017 was 2%. In the 2019 survey that number jumped to 17%.
As our kids deal with peer pressure and the sense that “everyone” is doing it, it is important to remember to talk to them about it. ParentUpVT.org is an available tool that can help any parent, guardian, or adult navigate these tricky conversations. Even though it may feel like they are not listening, they are. The number one reason kids give for not using substances is that they don’t want to disappoint their parents[iii]. Additionally, conversations about any substance should happen often, it is not just a one-and-done type of talk. Visit ParentUpVt.org to learn more about how to talk to the youth in your life about marijuana and other substances.
If you are concerned that a youth in your life might be using substances, ParentUpVT.org has a list of resources that will assist anyone looking to get support.
For more information about youth substance use prevention efforts in Rutland County, please visit the Rutland Prevention Partnership Facebook page >