No one can dispute the following statement which comes from a new governmental report:
Substance use constitutes one of the most serious public health issues for young people in the United States, creating negative health, social, and economic consequences for adolescents, their families, and communities, and for the nation as a whole.
It’s the season of high school graduations. Families and students are celebrating jobs well done and wishing for successful futures in the adult world. For most 18-year-olds, that future begins by continuing their education with job/career training or college. Most parents would prefer their children refrain from using alcohol (they remain underage until 21 years of age), marijuana (still illegal in most states), and other drugs while they are still in school and beyond. (Chances are that if children haven’t become addicted to nicotine by this point in their lives, they won’t start smoking cigarettes now — because you won’t hear many young adults with well-insulated forebrains say for the first time: “Cigarettes. That sounds like a good idea!”) Parents, either from common sense or from their own past experiences, understand that getting drunk or stoned is ultimately counterproductive in the quest for higher learning (no pun intended) and a successful future. Still, that doesn’t mean that parents who send their kids to college are putting their heads in the sand. Neither is Rosanna Xia:
There’s a lot more going on at colleges these days than just studying.
On any given day, 1.2 million full-time students are drinking alcohol and more than 703,000 are using marijuana, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
More than 2,100 of these students are drinking for the first time, and about 1,300 are getting their first taste of weed.
An additional 239,000 part-time college students drink alcohol on a typical day, and 195,000 of them use marijuana.
Drinking is nothing new for college students. The report utilized data from 2011-2014, where 60% of full-time college students said they drank alcohol at least once in the past month, and where 39% admitted to binge drinking. 13% said they had been binge drinking (for women, 4 drinks on one occasion; 5 drinks for men) at least 5 times in the last month.
Xiu says some college students look beyond booze and weed:
Marijuana was the most widely used illicit drug, but there were many others, according to the report. About 11,300 full-time college students used cocaine on an average day, 9,808 used hallucinogens such as LSD or ecstasy, and more than 4,500 said they used heroin. These figures included 447 first-time cocaine users and 649 who tried hallucinogens for the first time.
The authors of the report also noted that, on an average day, 559 full-time college students abused prescription pain relievers for the first time, and 415 tried stimulants recreationally.
In a study published last year, researchers from the University of Michigan showed that the use of narcotics and synthetic marijuana has decreased on U.S. campuses, while amphetamine use has doubled since 2007, attributable to the belief that that drug’s action may improve academic focus and performance. Marijuana use has increased the most in recent years. Tim Stelloh highlights the finding that for the first time, more college students smoked pot than smoked cigarettes:
According to the study, 5.9 percent of the students surveyed smoked marijuana on a daily or near-daily basis, a rate higher than any year since 1980. Just five percent smoked cigarettes at the same pace, however, a staggering drop from 1999, when 19 percent of students said they regularly smoked cigarettes.
Put that in your pipe! (Just don’t smoke it.)