What Does Adolescent Substance Use Look Like During the COVID-19 Pandemic? Examining Changes in Frequency, Social Contexts, and Pandemic-Related Predictors

The authors report on alcohol and cannabis consumption among 14-18 year old adolescents in Ontario, Canada three weeks before and three weeks after the emergency pandemic stay-at-home order. In this limited time period, they found fewer users overall, but among those who did use substances, the number of days of alcohol and cannabis use increased. About half of the use was associated with peer engagement, in person or through technology. The other half was solitary and likely correlated with heightened anxiety and depression. 

By Tara M. Dumas, Ph.D., Wendy Ellis, Ph.D., Dana M. Litt Ph.D.

Read the full study at the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Accompanying Editorial:
Adolescent Life in the Early Days of the Pandemic: Less and More Substance Use
By Jennifer L Maggs, Ph.D.
July 13, 2020