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Monitoring the Future National Survey Results on Drug Use, 1975-2013 Volume II: College Students and Adults Ages 19-55

NCJ Number
Lloyd D. Johnston; Patrick M. O'Malley; Jerald G. Bachman; John E. Schulenberg; Richard A. Miech
Date Published
August 2014
446 pages
This monograph presents the results of the repeated cross-sectional surveys of high-school graduates from Monitoring the Future national surveys on drug use for 1975 - 2013, which follows them into their adult years (college students and adults ages 19-55).
Historical and developmental changes in substance abuse and related attitudes and beliefs occurring at these age levels are emphasized. The high school graduates were surveyed at the later ages of 35, 40, 45, 50, and 55. Follow-up surveys were conducted by mail with representative subsamples of the previous participants from each high school senior class. The findings show that the increase in the use of many drugs among secondary school students during the 1990s, combined with fairly level rates of use among college students and young adults, resulted in some unusual reversals in the rate of drug use by age level. In the early years of the epidemic, illicit drug use rates were higher in the college-age group and eventually the young adults than they were among secondary school students. By the late 1990s, however, the highest rates of active use (use within the prior year or prior 30 days) occurred in the late secondary school years. This changed somewhat after 2001, as the earlier heavier-using cohorts of adolescents began to compose the college student and young adult populations. At the same time, use among the incoming secondary school students was declining. In 2013, the rank order by age group for annual prevalence of using any illicit drug was 40 percent among 12th graders, 39 percent among college students, 36 percent among 28-year-olds, 32 percent among 10th graders, and 15 percent among 8th graders. Trends are also shown for alcohol use and cigarette smoking. Racial and ethnic comparisons are included as well. Extensive tables and figures