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Sep 15

Daily Marijuana Use at the Highest Rate Among College Students in Three Decades, Says Study

Although the use of illicit substances such as cocaine, crack or LSD is declining among college students, daily marijuana use is at a 30-year high, according to a study by University of Michigan scientists.

In 2006, 30 percent of American full-time college students said they used marijuana in the prior 12 months of taking the nationwide Monitoring the Future survey. In 2013, 36 percent said they used. However, the daily or near-daily use of marijuana, 20 or more occasions of use in the prior 30 days, is also on the rise. In 2007, 3.5 percent said they used cannabis daily. In 2013, that number rose to 5.1 percent,

Just a little more than half – 51 percent – of current full-time college students have used an illicit drug at some time in their lives. About four in 10, or 39 percent, have used one or more such drugs in the 12 months before taking the survey, compared to 34 percent back in 2006. The scientists who conducted the survey attributed this 5 percent increase to an increasing proportion using marijuana.

“This is the highest rate of daily use observed among college students since 1981—a third of a century ago,” said Lloyd Johnston, the principal investigator of the MTF study. “In other words, one in every 20 college students was smoking pot on a daily or near-daily basis in 2013, including one in every 11 males and one in every 34 females. To put this into a longer-term perspective, from 1990 to 1994, fewer than one in 50 college students used marijuana that frequently.”

The second most popular drug used among college students is the amphetamine Adderall, commonly used to stay awake and focus when studying or doing homework. One in every nine students, or 11 percent, said they used Adderall without a proper prescription in the prior year.

The next most popular illegal substances used by college students are ecstasy, hallucinogens and narcotic drugs other than heroin. About 5 percent of students said they used these three drugs in the past 12 months.

Past year use of narcotic drugs other than heroin, such as Vicodin and OxyContin remains the same from last year at 5.4 percent, but it’s declined from its peak use in 2006 at 8.8 percent.

Another drug that has declined in use is synthetic marijuana, with just over 2 percent of students saying they used the drug in the past year.

Less than 1 percent of students said they used inhalants, crack cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, bath salts, GHB and ketamine in 2013.

In general, female college students – who are now in the majority – are less likely to use illicit drugs than males. For example, 40 percent of college males used marijuana in the past year compared to 33 percent of college females. Also, 24 percent of males versus 16 percent of females used some illicit drug other than marijuana. Daily or near-daily use of marijuana was popular among college males, with nearly 9 percent of them indicating marijuana use on 20 or more occasions in the prior 30 days, compared with only 3 percent of college females.

When it comes to alcohol, about 76 percent of students said they drank in the past year and 58 percent said they had gotten drunk at least once in that same period. More than a third of students, 35 percent, said they binge drank at least once during the two weeks prior to the survey.

But, alcohol use has declined on campus. In 2008, 69 percent said they had a drink in the past 30 days. In 2013, that number dropped to 63 percent. Similarly, the percent indicating that they got drunk during that period fell from a high of 48 percent in 2006 to 40 percent by 2011, where it remained through 2013.

 

http://www.cadca.org/resources/detail/daily-marijuana-use-highest-rate-among-college-students-three-decades-says-study