Drug and Alcohol Use in College-Age Adults

Newly Released Data Shows Significant Drug and Alcohol Use in College-Age Adults

The National Institute on Drug Abuse released their 2018 Monitoring the Future College Students and Young Adults Survey.  The data includes results on marijuana use, nicotine vaping, prescription drug misuse, and binge drinking.  According to the findings:

  • Marijuana use is at a historic high among college and non-college peers.  The survey shows that annual marijuana use is the highest among both groups in 35 years.
  • The rate of daily/near daily use of marijuana is nearly twice as high for non-college respondents as it is for college students.
  • Marijuana vaping among college students has doubled in the past year while staying nearly the same for non-college respondents.
  • Nicotine vaping among college students has doubled in the past year.  According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “(t)his jump is among the greatest one-year increase seen for any substance in the history of the survey.”
  • Opioid misuse has significantly dropped among both college and non-college respondents.
  • College males were more likely to misuse Adderall than their female counterparts whereas non-college females were more frequent abusers than non-college males.
  • Binge drinking, defined as drinking 5 or more drinks in a row in the past 2 weeks, was at below 30% for both non-college and college groups. 

While alcohol and drug use are a problem for both college students and their non-college peers, there is some indication that misuse of certain drugs is on the decline. 

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.