Substance Abuse Hits Historic High in America

Substance Abuse Hits Historic High in America

( – America has been fighting a war on drugs for decades. Late President Ronald Reagan made the battle against narcotics one of his top priorities. Unfortunately, 40 years and more than $1 trillion later, the nation is still grappling with a severe problem, and it has now reached a historic level.

On August 17, Monitoring the Future (MTF) released its annual report about drug use in America. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) funded the panel study, which focused on adults ages 19 to 60 years old. It sought to better understand the behaviors and attitudes toward drugs.

Marijuana Use

According to the survey, people between the ages of 19 to 30 have increased their use of marijuana. In 2022, approximately 44% of the people questioned said they use marijuana. Daily use of the drug is now at 11%. That’s the highest it’s been since the survey started. In 2017, 35% of those surveyed said they’d used the drug, which is now legal in some form in nearly all states.

Users of the drug aren’t just doing it in traditional ways. Twenty-one percent (21%) of respondents said they were vaping marijuana, the highest level since it was added to the survey. That’s up from 19% in 2021.

Surprising Alcohol Increase

For a decade, Americans have been using alcohol less often. The numbers showed it trending downward for people between 19 and 30 — until last year. In 2022, daily, past-month use, and binge drinking all increased slightly, up 84% from 82% in 2017.

Unlike the first group, the number of adults between the ages of 35 to 50 has increased over the last decade. Binge drinking reached 29% in 2022, its highest level ever, up from 23% in 2012. Overall, drinking reached 85% in 2022, a rise from 83% in 2012.

Use of Hallucinogens

In 2012, 3% of those surveyed said they used hallucinogens. That increased to 5% in 2017 and reached a record high in 2022 at 8% for people ages 19 to 30. About 4% of adults aged 35 to 50 also admitted to using the drugs last year. That’s up from 2% in 2021. The drugs included shrooms, MDMA, peyote, mescaline, and PCP, among others.

University of Michigan research professor, Megan Patrick, Ph.D., is one of the members of the MTF panel. She said the survey is a great way to track drug use in people from adolescence through adulthood. She explained that public opinions about drugs shift depending on a number of factors, including availability.

“It’s important to track this so that public health professionals and communities can be prepared to respond,” Patrick stated.

Anyone who struggling with drug and alcohol use can call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

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