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Young adult use of marijuana, hallucinogens at all-time high

Young adult use of marijuana, hallucinogens at all-time high

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In 2021, 11 percent of young adults said they used marijuana daily, and 8 percent reported hallucinogen use, according to a study conducted by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research and funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Last year, marijuana and hallucinogen use by young adults aged 19 to 30 increased significantly compared to five and 10 years ago, reaching record levels, according to a report funded by the National Institutes of Health.  

Around 43 percent of young adults reported using marijuana last year, up from 34 percent in 2016 and 29 percent in 2011, according to the Monitoring the Future study by the University of Michigan, which annually surveys substance abuse behaviors since 1975 and had some 5,000 participants in the latest survey. 

In the past month, 29 percent of young adults said they used marijuana, up 8 percent from 2016 and 12 percent from 2011. 

Additionally, according to the report, more than 1 in 10 were “daily” consumers, using marijuana 20 times or more in the past 30 days.

“As the drug landscape shifts over time, this data provides a window into the substances and patterns of use favored by young adults,” said Nora Volkow, the National Institute on Drug Abuse Director, in a news release.  

“We need to know more about how young adults are using drugs like marijuana and hallucinogens, and the health effects that result from consuming different potencies and forms of these substances.”

But the use of hallucinogens also rose, according to the study. 

Over the past year, 8 percent of young adults reported hallucinogen use, an all-time high since surveys began in 1988, according to the report. 

In contrast, in 2016, 5 percent of young adults reported past-year hallucinogen use, and in 2011, only 3 percent reported use.

The hallucinogens reported in the survey were, LSD, MDMA, mescaline, peyote, “shrooms” or psilocybin and PCP.

MDMA, also known as Ecstasy or Molly, was the only drug that showed a decrease in use.

Three percent of the participants reported using MDMA in 2021, down from 5 percent in 2020 and 2016. 

The results come after several states adopted more lax drug laws, including 19 states who legalized recreational marijuana, including New York last year, according to MJBizDaily.

Still, alcohol remained the most used drug. Around 32 percent of young adults reported binge drinking, which is having five or more drinks in a row, returning to pre-pandemic levels after a short decline in 2020. 

High-intensity drinking, having 10 or more drinks in a row, reached its highest level since first measured in 2005, at 13 percent. 

However, alcohol use has been trending downward for the past decade.  

“Young adults are in a critical life stage and honing their ability to make informed choices,” Volkow said.

“Understanding how substance use can impact the formative choices in young adulthood is critical to help position the new generations for success.”

This report was first published by The Crime Report.

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