Tuesday, June 16, 2015

New data show 13.6 percent of Colorado adults use marijuana

New data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment show 13.6 percent of Colorado adults (age 18 and older) surveyed in 2014 reported current use of marijuana. Current use is defined as having used in the past 30 days.

New questions on the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) mark the beginning of data collection about marijuana use following the legalization of retail marijuana in Colorado. This is the first time the department has collected marijuana use data in the survey, so comparisons to past BRFSS data are not possible.

The National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, shows 12.9 percent of Coloradans (age 18 and older) surveyed in 2013 reported current use of marijuana. While the data are from two different surveys, marijuana use by this age group was relatively unchanged, from 12.9 percent in 2013 (NSDUH) to 13.6 percent in 2014

Department Executive Director and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Larry Wolk said, “This is the beginning of data collection about marijuana use by Coloradans. Tracking this data over time will help us identify trends that will be useful in planning public health awareness campaigns about marijuana use.”

Other Colorado findings from the BRFSS survey show:
  • Younger adults (ages 18 to 24) are more than 10 times more likely to use marijuana than older adults (ages 65 and older).
  • One-third of current users reported using marijuana daily.
  • 18.8 percent of current marijuana users reported driving after using.
  • The highest percentage of current marijuana use among adults was reported in the Denver metropolitan area and resort areas of the state.
  • Gay, lesbian and bisexual adults are much more likely to currently use marijuana.
  • The percentage of adults who have ever used marijuana is much lower among Hispanics, compared with white or black adults.
  • Adults with higher incomes are more likely to have ever used marijuana, but current use is higher among adults with lower household incomes.
The 2013 NSDUH survey estimated 7.4 percent of U.S. adults used marijuana in the past month. Among states that have legal retail marijuana, past-month use ranged from 12.1 percent to Colorado’s 12.9 percent.

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