Chilling With A Drink? Nope: Gen Zers Choose Weed Or Mushrooms

A study by a cannabis research firm is reported in Bloomberg and has interesting data on how Gen Z differs in its relaxing habits: Booze is out and ‘shrooms are in. In Axios, a separate study is covered, and it shows that young people’s love of vaping products has reversed a long decline in tobacco use.

Bloomberg: Gen Z Prefers Marijuana Or Shrooms To Alcohol

Gen Z, the meme-hungry, gender-fluid generation that’s already reshaping everything from social media to shopping, is also redefining how society unwinds. Of people aged 18 to 24, 69% prefer marijuana to alcohol, according to a recent survey by New Frontier Data, a cannabis research firm. Consumers up to age 44 have a similar stance. But the youngest cohort is of particular interest, because many of Gen Z’s members still don’t have paychecks and purchasing power. Its oldest members, up to age 24, may thus be a leading indicator, given that they already have around $360 billion in disposable income, are just of legal age to spend it on alcohol or marijuana, and will doubtlessly influence their younger peers. (Kary, 5/31)

Axios: Youth Vaping Reversed Declines In Tobacco Use

More than a million teens started vaping from 2017 to 2019, throwing decades of declining tobacco use in reverse, according to a new study in Pediatrics. The popularity of Juul in particular led a new generation of 14- to 17-year-olds to get hooked, although use dropped off after an outbreak of vaping-related deaths and deaths. “We saw a huge increase in addiction,” study co-author John Pierce told Axios. (Dreher, 5/31)

In other news about drug use —

The Hill: South Dakota Will Vote On Legalizing Pot — With A Twist

South Dakota voters will decide later this year whether to become the 20th state in the nation to legalize marijuana for recreational use, after supporters filed thousands of signatures with state elections officials earlier this month. But five months before Election Day, it’s not clear exactly what share of the voters must rally in order to win approval. That’s because those same voters head to the polls next week in a primary election that could rewrite the rules just ahead of November’s vote. (Wilson, 5/31)

The Boston Globe: Ipswich Health Board Considers Syringe Service Program

The Ipswich Board of Health at its Monday, June 6 meeting will continue public discussions about the possibility of bringing a syringe service program to town. Interested community members are invited to attend the session, set for 5:30 pm in Town Hall Room C. The board began discussing the potential syringe service program on May 9, when Susan Gould Coviello, executive director of the Gloucester-based North Shore Health Project, met with the panel to suggest the idea. Since 2016, the Project has provided such a service for Gloucester. (Laidler, 5/31)

The Boston Globe: ‘They Treated Me Like I Was An Inmate.’ Despite Protests, State Continues To Support Prison-Based Programs For Addicted Men

Advocates and addiction specialists have long decried the practice of forcing men into correctional settings for addiction treatment, saying that doing so shames and often traumatizes people who are sick but not criminals. But the state government continues to support these programmes. Funding to operate the facility where Hiltz was taken — the Massachusetts Alcohol and Substance Abuse Center, or MASAC — has doubled since 2019 to $20.5 million, and the fiscal year 2023 budget now before the Senate would provide an additional $1.5 million. Some $36 million in capital improvements are underway. “Rather than move away from correctional administration, the state is doubling down on it,” said Bonnie Tenneriello, a lawyer with Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts, which in 2019 sued the state over the issue. (Freyer, 5/31)

And Canada has decriminalized opioids in British Columbia —

The New York Times: Canada Decriminalizes Opioids And Other Drugs In British Columbia

Facing soaring levels of opioid deaths since the pandemic began in 2020, the Canadian government announced Tuesday that it would temporarily decriminalize the possession of small amounts of illegal drugs, including cocaine and methamphetamines, in the western province of British Columbia that has been ground zero for the country’s overdoses. … The announcement was applauded by families of deceased opioid and by peer support workers, and was supported by police associations and British Columbia’s chief coronaner, but many harm reduction demanded that the government go further by expanding the exemption across the country and increasing the threshold to include larger quantities. (Isai and Porter, 5/31)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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