Drug Use at All-Time High, 50 Years of Research Shows
Americans are using drugs at record-high rates, results of a decades-long study show. The Monitoring the Future study is conducted yearly to monitor rates of drug use among adults. The data has been collected annually since 1975.
The survey represents a national sample of almost 30,000 participants who report their drug use behaviors during three periods in their lives: lifetime, the past year, and the past month.
Researchers found that almost 44 percent of young adults between 19-30 years old and nearly 28 percent of “midlife” adults ages 35- 50 reported using marijuana in the past 12 months. Both of those statistics are at an all-time high for both demographics.
Daily marijuana use was also recorded in this year’s data and shows the same record-high trend: more than 11 percent of young adults and more than 6 percent of midlife adults reported using marijuana on at least 20 of the last 30 days. That statistic is double the rate of 2012 results.
Hallucinogens or psychedelic drug use is more than double than reported a decade ago. 2022 results show that 8 percent of young adults and 4 percent of midlife adults have used drugs like LSD or MDMA in the past 12 months.
The research looks at two major topics: (1) the "prevalence and frequency" of use of a great many substances, both lawful and illegal, among U.S. secondary school students in 8th, 10th, and 12th grades; and (2) "historical trends" in use by students in those grades.
The legalization of medical marijuana in 38 states is most likely a factor in the increase in drug use. Washington D.C. and 23 other states allow recreational marijuana use; other cities and states are decriminalizing or legalizing mushrooms and other psychedelics.
Lack of affordable healthcare is another reason cited for the uptick in marijuana use, and a potential increase in the use of psychedelic drugs, which some studies have shown to help treat depression, alcoholism, and other mental health disorders.
The survey is funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse and is conducted by the University of Michigan.