The decade's most triggering comedy
Use of marijuana, hallucinogens, and binge drinking hit record highs among middle-aged adults last year, according to a new survey.
Last year, a record 28% of adults aged 35 to 50 said they use marijuana, more than double the 13% who said they used the drug a decade ago, according to the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future panel study. Last year’s number is the highest since 2008 when data was first collected.
Daily marijuana use was reported by nearly 7% of mid-life adults. Daily use is defined as using the drug 20 or more times in the past 30 days.
Hallucinogenic drug use also hit record levels among middle-aged adults last year.
Just over 4% of mid-life adults said they had used hallucinogenic drugs last year, the highest level since 2008. About 12% of middle-aged adults said they had used some drug other than marijuana last year, such as hallucinogens like LSD, cocaine, amphetamines, sedatives, and heroin.
Binge drinking hit record levels among middle-aged adults as well.
About 29% of mid-life adults said they had consumed five or more drinks in a row sometime in the past two weeks, the highest since it was first measured in 2008.
Amphetamine use has also jumped over the last decade, with just over 3% of mid-life adults saying they used amphetamines in the past year, compared to just over 1% saying so in 2012.
Marijuana use also surged to a record level in young adults under 30. Nearly 44% of adults ages 19 to 30 used marijuana last year, and over 11% reported daily marijuana use.
Hallucinogen use other than LSD also rose to a record 7% of young adults last year, although LSD use declined.
The annual University of Michigan survey collects data from about 28,500 people across the country and is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
“Substance use is not limited to teens and young adults, and these data help us understand how people use drugs across the lifespan,” NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow said Thursday in a press release on the survey.
“Understanding these trends is a first step, and it is crucial that research continues to illuminate how substance use and related health impacts may change over time,” Volkow said.
The higher levels of drug use and binge drinking come amid national concerns about a loneliness “epidemic.”
“In the last few decades, we’ve just lived through a dramatic pace of change. We move more, we change jobs more often, we are living with technology that has profoundly changed how we interact with each other and how we talk to each other,” Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said in May.
“And you can feel lonely even if you have a lot of people around you, because loneliness is about the quality of your connections,” Murthy said.
The increase in marijuana use has coincided with a slew of states decriminalizing the drug and legalizing recreational use. Recreational marijuana use is now legal in the District of Columbia and 23 states including New York, Illinois, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Michigan, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Montana.
Illegal markets continue to operate even in states where the drug is legal, however.
Some areas have expressed concerns about marijuana smoking becoming a nuisance. Several Minnesota cities considered banning smoking marijuana in public ahead of the drug’s legalization this month. At least one of the cities has already voted for the ban.