From the outset of the pandemic experts have been predicting a surge in so-called “deaths of despair” (Case & Deaton, 2017): deaths from substance abuse, self-harm, and suicide.
Early on, there was evidence for an increase in such deaths in adults (Mulligan, 2020). Experts predicted a parallel effect in adolescents (John, 2020) given the radical changes to their lives, the intrinsic frustrations and miseries of lockdowns, and the uncertainties about the future. Did teenage substance abuse and suicide in fact increase through the pandemic?
Substance abuse in the pandemic
It is difficult to get clear data on substance abuse in UK teenagers during the through pandemic. Little research has as yet addressed the issue, and what there is is often methodologically limited or poses serious challenges of interpretation.
Register now, read forever
Thank you for visiting SecEd and reading some of our content for professionals in secondary education. Register now for free to get unlimited access to all content.
Unlimited access to news, best practice articles and podcast
New content and e-bulletins delivered straight to your inbox every Monday and Thursday
Already have an account? Sign in here