Substance selected: Marijuana
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2021). SAMHSA releases 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Web.
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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that the COVID-19 pandemic had a highly negative impact on the nation’s overall health and wellbeing. The organization does not have a solid and specific stance on marijuana, but it states that almost 50 million people aged 12 and older have used the illicit substance in 2020 (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2021). However, SAMSHA clearly indicates that there is a trend in the growth of the number of individuals using marijuana, which might be contributing to the worsening of public health (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2021). In other words, the COVID-19 impacted the population’s marijuana consumption by increasing its use. The organization claims that there needs to be an intervention in order to reduce substance use disorders (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2021). SAMSHA also admits that there are limitations in regard to the data collected due to the restrictions brought by the pandemic. Therefore, the marijuana abuse numbers can be potentially higher than observed.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2021). Adolescent marijuana, alcohol use held steady during COVID-19 pandemic. Web.
National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that marijuana abuse by adolescents did not change significantly due to the COVID-19 pandemic despite a sharp decline in perceived availability of the substance for the target group (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2021). Therefore, the trend is that both alcohol and marijuana will not change in the near future and might even increase with more access to these drugs as the lockdown restrictions will be gradually removed. It is important to note that “before the pandemic, 23% of students said they had used marijuana in the past 30 days, compared to 20% during the pandemic” (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2021, para. 7). The report suggests that marijuana abuse cannot be prevented solely through supply reduction measures, which is why demand reduction is critical.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). COVID-19 and people at increased risk. Web.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that substance abuse disorders put individuals in a high-risk group for COVID-19 complications. It is stated that marijuana smoking “can make chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and other lung conditions worse” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021, para. 7). The organization also reports that the pandemic caused an increase in marijuana abuse due to elevated stress levels. CDC also reports that the rate of drug abuse and overdoses has been increasing both prior to and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency is clearly against marijuana abuse and related disorders due to possible complications under the impact of the coronavirus.
Based on these three resources put together, we can conclude that after COVID, we are likely to see an increase in marijuana abuse, especially among adolescents, as restrictive access elements will be removed. It is evident that the adult population’s consumption of marijuana increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, which requires intervention in terms of policies and programs. The trend of increase in drug abuse is partly due to increased levels of stresses brought by the coronavirus and related ramifications, such as economic and social stressors.
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