The Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse has accepted a work by Cory Lowe, Bryan Miller, and myself titled “Spice Use among Adolescents in the United States: A National Profile of Synthetic Cannabinoid Users.” We see this study as an extension of Dr. Miller’s and my work in JSU years ago. Whereas that study was geographically limited to Georgia, the current work explores correlates of synthetic cannabinoid use in a nationally representative sample of adolescents. Data from the 2015 and 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YBRS) are analyzed to examine the factors associated with lifetime, experimental, and persistent synthetic cannabinoid use.    

8.0% of respondents reported any SC use; however, fewer than half of these users (3.6% of the sample) reported use three or more times. Older youths, males, and lesbian, gay and bisexual youths were more likely to report both lifetime and persistent use. Asian youths were less likely to report ever using SC than White and African American youths, while Hispanic youths were more likely to report lifetime and persistent use. Poor academic performance and using other substances were positively associated with lifetime and persistent use. As such, researchers should continue to examine the factors associated with SC use, particularly the influence of age and sexual orientation, as well as patterns of continuation and desistance over time. Policy makers and practitioners should target at-risk groups with evidence-based substance use prevention programs and practices, and they should continue to raise awareness regarding the legal, medical, and social risks associated with SC use.

A link will be added here when the piece is published!