Alcohol’s Out: Weed Leads as Substance of Choice for Some Teens

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If there’s one thing that’s constant, it’s change. Especially when it comes to kids. While there was a time where teens preferred drinking, research reveals these times have come and gone. These days, it’s pot teens prefer.  Weed now leads as the substance of choice for many of America’s modern youth.

Study Shows Being High Prevails over Binge Drinking

A study published in 2016 revealed that more 12-17year-olds are smoking pot than binge drinking on booze. Teenage alcohol use peaked in 1997 at 61 percent. In 1998, binge drinking among teens was at a reported 31.5 percent. Today these numbers have fallen as much as 30 percent, with less than 7 percent of teens engaging in binge drinking throughout the US.

More teens are choosing weed over alcohol, but this doesn’t mean they’re smoking more weed.  Despite fears teen use would skyrocket once marijuana was legalized, cannabis use among teens has declined.

Overall Substance Use Among Teens Declines

Drinking isn’t the only thing that teens are doing less of. Cigarette smoking is also way down than it was in previous years. According to a story published in Time, these days more teens are smoking weed than they are cigarettes. It’s the first time cigarette use among teens has been this low since 1975. Where around 10 percent of 14-year-old kids were smoking cigs just a generation ago, this number is now below one percent.

Cannabis it seems, is king among teens who are choosing to alter their minds. Which isn’t as many as it used to be. Today’s youth are more focused on their future, rather than some “rite of passage” ceremony that involves drinking copious amounts of alcohol.

Today’s teens aren’t just drinking less and smoking fewer cigarettes. They’re also having less sex. Some teens have some theories as to why the overall decline in things like binge drinking that were so prominent when their parents were teens. For one, there’s more to keep them busy with the advent of a world that’s basically lived online. For another, many simply don’t like the feeling alcohol offers. Being out of control doesn’t cut it like it did with yesterday’s youth.

Daniel Siegel, psychiatrist and author of “Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain”, believes that in an environment that has changed drastically over the past four decades, it makes sense that teens would “remodel” their brains to adapt to these changes in society.

He says today’s teens are getting a feeling of, “wow, the world is pretty serious, so why would I rush to immerse myself. . .Why don’t I stay with my friends and away from anything that has heavy consequences, like pregnancy or sexually-transmitted diseases?”

And as anyone well knows (teens included), there are some pretty heavy consequences involved in drinking and doing drugs. According to one Oregon teen who has no desire to drink nor has ever been drunk, “I haven’t heard of anyone who goes out and specifically drinks with their friends. It’s not something you set out to do, like, ‘Oh yeah, I’m going to go out and get drunk.'” As it turns out, the kids are alright after all.

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