Vermont ranks first in the country for youth marijuana use

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A study released this week by the U.S Drug Test Centers shows Vermont teens ages 12-17 rank number one for marijuana consumption. The study uses data from SAMHSA. The study ranks Vermont in the top three for alcohol use among minors.

. The study ranks Vermont in the top three for alcohol use among minors.

While Vermont does not rank as high in tobacco use, the study focused on tobacco *products* other than cigarettes which has increased across the country due to vaping.

For more information on the study click here.

Experts in Vermont are not surprised by the report. Mariah Sanderson is the Director of the Burlington Partnership for a Healthy Community. She works a lot with young people in the Queen City.

“We’ve been in the number one spot for years now. That’s been consistent for as long as ten years. Since I started doing this work, marijuana use was dropping, but its remained steady for the last couple years of data collection,” said Sanderson.

Every two years, the Vermont Department of Health conducts what is called a Youth Risk Behavior Survey among middle and high school students.

The deputy Health Commissioner Kelly Dougherty says their data aligns with the U.S Drug Test Center’s study. Yet, it is still concerning.

“Any kinds of substances, so marijuana, alcohol, nicotine all of those things have a priming  effect on the brain. So, if we start using substances while our brain is still developing it can actually perpetuate use of more substances later in life,” said Dougherty.

According to Sanderson, 90% of the people who develop a substance abuse disorder started using before they were the age of 18.

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