A Recent Survey Points to Historic Marijuana Usage and Declines in Binge Drinking and Opioid Use by College-Age Americans
News-Related Blog for Gulf Breeze Recovery:
Marijuana use at historic high.
While the lead headline from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) touted “Marijuana use at historic highs among college-age adults,” the institute could have also released some positive headlines. That’s because one of the nation’s most comprehensive and longest-lasting surveys on America’s recreational drug use also showed significant declines in alcohol consumption and non-medical opioid usage by this age group.
Results from the NIDA survey—“Monitoring the Future: National Survey Results on Drug Use, 1975-2018”—showed more than 42 percent of college-age Americans used marijuana at least once in 2018, a seven percent rise from the 35.5 percent who reported doing so in 2013. The survey found that past-year usage rates showed similar increases for both college students and their non-college peers; however, daily usage was reportedly almost twice as high among non-college students than those in college. Interestingly, though, marijuana vaping rates doubled in one year among college students, while the rate for their non-college peers remained the same 2017 to 2018.
Binge drinking among college-age Americans is at all-time low.
In the realm of substance abuse, some of the other survey findings may be of more interest. The NIDA news release pointed out that binge drinking (five or more drinks in a row within a two-week period) among college-age Americans is at all-time lows, dropping below 30 percent for the first time since the survey began tracking alcohol use. A closer look at the survey shows that, by many metrics, alcohol abuse by college-age Americans may be near 27-year lows.
Consider first that the number of college students reporting “any daily use” over a 30-day period came in at 2.3 percent for 2018, far below five percent recorded in 2002. Likewise, the number of 2018 college students reporting that they’d ever had an alcoholic drink was at a 27-year low, with only 77.4 percent reporting so, compared to the 93.6 percent who admitted to ever trying a drink as of 1991. While the 66.8 percent of 2018 college students reporting that they’d ever been drunk doesn’t mark a low, it does mark part of continuing downward trend from 1991, when 79.6 percent of college students surveyed reported that they had ever been drunk.
Non-medicinal opioid use is also seeing significant declines among college-age Americans.
The percentage of college students reporting that they had used opioids in 2018 stood at 2.7 percent, a significant decline from the 5.4 percent who reported usage in 2013. Non-college students in this age group saw even more significant declines, from 9.6 percent in 2013 to 3.2 percent in 2018.
The drug and alcohol usage referenced in this blog represents only a small fraction of the data included in the annual survey.
Anyone interested in learning more about drug and alcohol abuse trends in the U.S. may find the survey results interesting. While there is a bit of positive data within this most recent rendition of the survey, the overall results clearly show that drug and alcohol abuse remain a serious problem.
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