Prevent and reduce the negative impacts of alcohol and drug misuse and 12 more...less...

Prevent and eliminate the problems caused by alcohol and drug misuse in youth

Vermonters are healthy

Youth choose healthy behaviors

HV2020 Outcomes - ADAP

Programmatic Performance Measures for Budgeting - ADAP (formerly Vantage)

Act 186 - ADAP

Vermonters are Healthy

Vermont's youth choose healthy behaviors (PPMB)

Vermon's children and young people achieve their potential




% of adolescents in grades 9-12 who used marijuana in the past 30 days


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Story Behind the Curve

Last Updated: Jan 2020

Author: State Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup, Vermont Department of Health


According tothe Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), past 30-day marijuana use among high school students increased significantly between 2015 and 2017 and again between 2017 and 2019 as discussions of legal adult use has been debated by the Vermont legislature.   In 2019, more than a quarter of high school students used marijuana during the past 30 days and six percent of students reported using marijuana before age 13.  While all demographic groups are at risk for using substance such as marijuana, some groups report higher use than others.  LGBT high school students (35%) are significantly more likely than their heterosexual peers (26%) to report using during the past 30 days. 

Research has shown that early (i.e. adolescent) and persistent use of marijuana can have several adverse effects on thinking, judgment, and physical and mental health. Early and persistent use of marijuana has been associated with chronic bronchitis, increased risks of several cancers, attention and memory impairment, and significant reduction in IQ, as well as increased risk of serious mental illness. There is an association between early marijuana use and subsequent abuse of other illegal drugs and excessive alcohol consumption. Other recent research has demonstrated that marijuana use in adolescence has a negative impact on college degree attainment, adult income, and measures at age 25 of relationship and life satisfaction.   In Vermont more adolescents are in treatment for marijuana disorders than any other substance including alcohol. Reduced perception of risk among youth is likely influenced by many communitywide factors such as changes in marijuana policy and norms.

ADAP works with public and private colleges across the state to plan and host an annual College Symposium that for the last two years has been focused on marijuana use and its impact on health and academics.  In addition, reduction of 30-day marijuana use among youth and young adults is the goal for both our statewide Regional Prevention Partnerships (RPP) and School-based Substance Abuse Services (SBSAS) grants to 20 supervisory unions across the state.  Prevention strategies include education, local policy education and enhancements, assessment and planning, screening, family education, capacity building and youth and young adult focused activities.  In addition to the evidence-based strategies being implemented by the grantees, VDH maintains the Parent UP website featuring a section on marijuana education for parents. 


Schools, Pediatricians, Department of Mental Health, Substance Abuse Prevention Coalitions, Parents.

What Works

Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) for adolescent marijuana users identified by pediatricians or school authorities; parental monitoring of behavior and peer affiliations; school-based prevention curricula focused on marijuana; continued legal sanctions on possession and use of marijuana.


Continue work of school-based prevention curricula; engage parents in prevention activities, develop a plan to increase awareness of pediatricians of the dangers of early use of marijuana.

Why Is This Important?

This indicator is part of Healthy Vermonters 2020 (the State Health Assessment) that documents the health status of Vermonters at the start of the decade and the population health indicators and goals that will guide the work of public health through 2020. Click here for more information.

Act 186 was passed by the Vermont Legislature in 2014 to quantify how well State government is working to achieve the population-level outcomes the Legislature sets for Vermont’s quality of life. It will assist the Legislature in determining how best to invest taxpayer dollars. The Vermont Department of Health and the Agency of Human Services report this information annually. Click here for more information.

Notes on Methodology

Data is updated as it becomes available and timing may vary by data source. For more information about this indicator, click here.

Note that prior to 2013, statewide estimates were generated by weighting responses from a representative sample of schools. In 2013, the methodology was changed and all student responses were used in creating statewide estimates, allowing for more accurate reporting. 2011 data were recalculated in the same way as 2013 data in order to improve comparisons. As a result, 2011 YRBS estimates that were published online after 02/04/2015 may be slightly different compared to those published previously.

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