(The Hill) – Marijuana and hallucinogen use and binge drinking reached historic highs among adults ages 35-50, according to a new study released Thursday.
In the 2022 annual analysis of substance use behavior and attitudes, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, adults, divided into two age groups, reached historically high levels of drug use.
Marijuana usage reached an all-time high for adults ages 35-50, with 28 percent reporting past-year use in 2022, an increase from 25 percent in 2021 and from 17 percent in 2017. In 2022, past-year use was more than double what it was 10 years prior, at 13 percent.
Nearly half of adults ages 19 to 30 reported past-year usage of marijuana, at 44 percent — also the highest level ever reported, up from 35 percent in 2017 and 28 percent in 2012. That same age group reported record-high daily marijuana usage, 11 percent in 2022, up from 8 percent in 2017 and 6 percent in 2012.
Hallucinogen use among adults ages 35-50 reached historically high levels, with 4 percent reporting past-year use in 2022, up from 2 percent in 2021 and no greater than 1 percent five or ten years prior. Among adults ages 19-30, 8 percent reported past-year usage.
Overall alcohol use trends have been gradually increasing for adults ages 35-50, but binge drinking reached its highest reported levels, at 29 percent last year, up from 26 percent in 2021, 25 percent in 2017 and 23 percent in 2012. Past-year drinking overall increased slightly over the past 10 years, from 83 percent in 2012 to 85 percent last year.
Reports of past-year vaping use has remained steady for adults ages 35-50, with 9 percent reporting marijuana vaping in 2022 and 7 percent reporting nicotine vaping in 2022.
Vaping reached historic highs, however, for adults ages 19-30, with 21 percent reporting past-year marijuana vaping in 2022, up from 19 percent in 2021 and 12 percent in 2017. Past-year reports of nicotine vaping nearly doubled since five years prior, at 24 percent in 2022 and 14 percent in 2017.
The annual survey, referred to as the “Monitoring the Future (MTF) panel study,” has been conducted annually since 1975. Data for this most recent 2022 survey was collected via online and paper surveys from April 2022 to October 2022, according to the report.
“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 Nora Volkow said in a press release. “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. We want to ensure that people from the earliest to the latest stages in adulthood are equipped with up-to-date knowledge to help inform decisions related to substance use.”