Statement on New CDC Data: No Increase in Marijuana Use Among Youth Despite State Legalization Trends

Press Release August 21, 2020
Media Contact

Matt Sutton 212-613-8026
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New York, NY – In response to the new CDC Youth Risk Behavior Survey 2019 results showing marijuana use has not increased over the past decade, despite state marijuana legalization and other reform trends, Sheila Vakharia, PhD, Deputy Director of the Department of Research & Academic Engagement for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), released the following statement:
“We are reassured by the latest results from the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey because they show that youth marijuana use has not increased over the past decade, even as more states across the country have passed progressive marijuana laws. These results affirm that we must continue to promote marijuana legalization and regulation for its public health and community safety benefits, especially in regards to limiting youth access.”

Sasha Simon, MPH, Safety First Senior Program Manager, also commented—in relation to what this means for the future of drug education—saying:
“While it may be reassuring to see that drug use is down among young people, we must remember that this country is in the midst of an overdose crisis on top of a pandemic, and young people need solid tools to help keep themselves and others safe when encountering drugs. DPA’s Safety First offers a harm reduction-based curriculum for high schools that does just that, and more districts should consider adopting a comprehensive, skills-based approach to drug education.”
For more on Safety First: Real Drug Education for Teens, visit

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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