- ~6% of full-time students report using marijuana either every day or at least 20 times in the previous 30 days.
- 21% report using marijuana at least once during the previous month.
- 34% report using marijuana during the past year.
- 4.4% of students report using cocaine in 2013. That’s up from 2.7% in 2012.
- 5% report engaging in extreme binge drinking—having consumed 15+ drinks in a row at least once in the previous 2 weeks.
- In November, December, and April, students tend to try stimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin for the first time. Why? They may believe these medications will increase performance on examinations, despite the fact there is no medical evidence that such drugs enhance performance. Worse yet, these drugs can be addictive.
- The first nonmedical use of prescription stimulants or painkillers typically happens between the ages 21 and 22 and most often during December. First semester exams?
- During the summer months after graduation not during the school year, students are most likely to try marijuana and inhalants for the first time.
- First marijuana use happens at about age 18, typically during the months of June and July.
- The first use of alcohol use is about age 17.
- Underage college students who have never consumed alcohol before are most likely to consume it for the first time in June prior to freshman year.
- About 1.2k underage students each day, on average, consume alcohol for the first time while in college.
It seems that the summer prior to leaving for freshman year at college is crucial. Leaving recent high school grads alone with their peers doesn't appear to be the wise thing to do. Then, once at college, parents should monitor their children in the weeks leading up to the months when their children are most vulnerable to test the use of drugs and alcohol.
At a minimum, parents should discuss the inevitable "loss" of the friendship network built up during the high school years and the difficulties associated with transitioning to a completely new environment. Parents should also provide some supervision. These interventions can assist in decreasing some of the understandable pressure their recent high school grads are experiencing that could lead them to dabble in or become involved with drugs and alcohol during the summer months after graduation and prior to leaving for college. Then, too, discussing the anxiety and stress that's associated finals and during the second-half of the first and second semesters can go a long way to prepare their children to avoid dealing with those pressures in ways that aren't constructive.
Let the discussion begin...
To read the "Monitoring the Future" report, click on the following link:
To read the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration study, click on the following link: