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New survey shows Denver’s campaign discouraging teens from using marijuana is working

Marijuana use by teen boys drops nearly 10%, survey finds
Posted at 6:14 PM, Feb 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-26 20:14:35-05

DENVER – A campaign to curb marijuana use among teens in the City and County of Denver is working, according to city officials.

The High Costs campaign, managed by the Department of Excise and Licenses’ Office of Marijuana Policy, hopes to educate Denver’s teenagers on how underage marijuana use, “can affect their passions, pursuits and future” by providing facts for teens instead of promoting scare tactics, according to a news release.

The survey released Wednesday showed that approach seems to be resonating with Denver youth, as 81% of teens between 13 and 17 years old who were aware of the campaign said it had discouraged them from using marijuana, compared to 75% in 2018.

When it comes to marijuana use, 81% of teens in the same age range said they were not current marijuana users compared to 80% who said the same in 2018, according to the survey.

Twenty-four percent of teens in 2019 said they had used marijuana at least two times in their life, compared to 21% who were surveyed a year prior. The percentage of teens who had never consumed marijuana, however, dropped – 57% reported having using marijuana at least once in 2019 compared to 59% in 2018, data from the survey shows.

One of the more statistically significant changes, according to the survey, was the percentage of teen boys who said they were not current marijuana users – 82% said they were not currently consuming marijuana in 2019 compared to 73% who said so in 2018.

That statistic also dropped, though not as significantly, for teenage girls – 87% said they were not current marijuana users compared to 90% in 2018.

Among 18 year olds, a demographic that had not been tallied when the survey was first implemented, 61% said they were not current users of marijuana – a 20 percentage point lower difference from teens aged 13 to 17.

“Hopefully, our continued success educating youth to wait until they are of legal age to consume can also serve as an example for other communities across the U.S.,” said Denver Excise and License Executive Director Ashley Kilroy. “The verdict is in that scare tactics are not successful with youth. Providing them facts about marijuana is the most effective youth education and prevention approach.”

A total of 537 teens between 13 and 18 years old participated in the survey, which ran from mid-November through mid-December 2019.