The good news is new research from Texas State University says that more than a quarter of young adults are not drinking at all. The bad news is marijuana use is still climbing. By understanding the alcohol and marijuana trends of youth, we can use that knowledge to encourage addiction recovery.

Breaking Away From Stereotypical Trends

When you think about what young adults do for fun, you may assume it is hard-partying and binge drinking at bars. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health says that in 2018, 30% of college students ages 18-22 did not have a single alcoholic drink in the past year, and in 2002, over 60% of people did not use marijuana at all. Binge drinking fell from 39% in 2015 to 34% in 2019. Another survey showed three-quarters of high school seniors think their friends would disapprove of weekend binge drinking which is more than half the people in the 1980s. Kids from 12-17 were more likely to avoid alcohol and marijuana than two decades ago. In 2019, 80% of youth have not used alcohol the previous year compared to the 65% in 2002. Eighty-seven percent had not used marijuana. 

The Rise in Marijuana Use

Sadly, college-aged young adults that have used marijuana at least once in the previous year have increased from 33% to 37%. The majority of people who have used marijuana have also used alcohol, indicating alcohol may act as a gateway drug. Young adults in that group also had higher rates of illicit drug use, such as cocaine, and prescription drug use with medications like opioids or benzodiazepines. This is a sign that there will be a greater number who need substance abuse treatment in the years to come.

Reasons for the Changes

Substance abuse has been starting at a later age. The number of adolescents drinking has somewhat declined while more college-aged adults are starting drinking and marijuana habits. It could be because more adolescents are communicating virtually compared to face-to-face contact in recent years, rarely using substances when younger. Marijuana is also legal for medicinal and recreational uses in many states. Attitudes have changed about the negative effects of marijuana compared to 1975 where more adolescents are seeing the dangers of alcohol when compared to marijuana. While it is good that adolescents have been straying away from alcohol, more education on the dangers of marijuana and treatment options need to be told to prevent marijuana from taking over your life.

At Alta Loma Transformational Living, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  Alta Loma uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, where you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 866-457-3843.