NIDA Drug Use Study

US Study – Marijuana and hallucinogen use by young adults reaches all-time high

The US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recently published the results of their annual Monitoring the Future (MTF) panel study. The results are very concerning, showing that marijuana and hallucinogen use among young adults reached an all time-high in 2021. 43% of young adults reported to have used marijuana in the past 12 months, with 11% of all young adults reporting to use marijuana daily! Nicotine vaping and excessive alcohol consumption is also on the rise. 

Results from this 2021 NIDA study mirrors the alarming trends highlighted in the UN’s World Drug Report 2021. 

Not surprisingly, the surge in marijuana use has been fuelled by increasing numbers of states that have legalised recreational marijuana, effectively normalising drug use. Experts say the normalisation of marijuana has helped persuade many young people that it is harmless.

“Generally speaking, young people don’t see these substances as dangerous, but the consequences of using them are still there” says Dr. Kevin M. Gray, professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina.

According to NIDA:

“Marijuana and hallucinogen use in the past year reported by young adults 19 to 30 years old increased significantly in 2021 compared to five and 10 years ago, reaching historic highs

43% of young adults reported to have used marijuana in the past 12 months, with 11% of all young adults reporting to use marijuana daily! These are staggering numbers. It’s of real concern, as drug use by young people can negatively affect their brain development, cognitive abilities and mental health.

Hallucinogen use (incl. LSD, MDMA, mescaline, PCP etc.) also increased dramatically over the past 12 months. In 2021, 8% of young adults reported past-year hallucinogen use, representing an all-time high.

Overall, the results are very concerning,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, M.D., director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “What they tell us is that the problem of substance abuse among young people has gotten worse in this country, and that the pandemic, with all its mental stressors and turmoil, has likely contributed to the rise.”

The NIDA report also highlights that nicotine vaping and excessive alcohol consumption continued to rise in 2021. Since 2017, when marijuana vaping was included in this study, past-month prevalence has doubled – from 6% in 2017 to 12% in 2021. According to NIDA, another worrying trend among young people is mounting consumption of alcoholic beverages suffused with THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.

Alcohol remains the most used substance among adults in the study. While daily/monthly/yearly drinking volume has been decreasing over the past decade, sadly high-intensity drinking (having 10 or more drinks in a row in the past two weeks) has been steadily increasing over the past decade and in 2021 reached its highest level ever recorded since first measured in 2005.”

Read the NIDA report here.

New Zealand certainly made the only safe decision by voting NO to dope at the 2020 cannabis legalisation referendum. 

**The post was written by Family First staff writers.

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