Trends in cannabis use among justice-involved youth in the United States, 2002–2017

Michael G. Vaughn, Millan AbiNader, Christopher P. Salas-Wright, Katherine Holzer, Sehun Oh, Yeongjin Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Little is known regarding trends in cannabis use among justice-involved youth. We hypothesize that cannabis use will be higher over time among justice-involved youth who, on average, are more likely to be exposed to and seek out cannabis. Objectives: The present study compares trends in cannabis use among justice-involved youth (past year) with youth in the general population age 12–17 who have not been arrested in the past year. Methods: Public-use data as part of the 2002–2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), which does not include state-level identifiers, was used. Males constitute 51% of the total sample. Among justice-involved youth, 66.4% were males. We employed logistic regression analyses with survey year as an independent variable and past-year cannabis use as the dependent variable. A series of logistic regressions examined the association between cannabis use and psychosocial and behavioral factors. Results: The prevalence of past-year cannabis use among justice-involved youth (3.09% of the sample) steadily increased from 54% in 2002 to 58% in 2017 (AOR = 1.018, 95% CI = 1.004–1.034), while the concurrent prevalence of cannabis use among youth with no past year arrests decreased from a high of 14% in 2002 to 12% in 2017 (AOR = 0.993, 95% CI = 0.990–0.997). Conclusion: Study findings suggest that cannabis use is increasing among justice-involved youth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-471
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jul 3

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under Award Number K01AA026645. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NIAAA or the NIH.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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