Substance Use By Young People In The US
"Substance use was common among U.S. high school students during 2019 and varied by substance, year, and demographic groups (Table 1). Among current substance use measures, the highest prevalence estimates were for alcohol (29.2%) and marijuana use (21.7%). Current binge drinking was reported by 13.7% of high school students, and 7.2% reported current prescription opioid misuse. Among lifetime use measures, marijuana use was reported by 36.8% of high school students, followed by misuse of prescription opioids (14.3%) and use of synthetic marijuana (7.3%), cocaine (3.9%), methamphetamine (2.1%), or heroin (1.8%). Lifetime injection drug use was reported by 1.6% of high school students.
"Trend data were available for eight of the 11 substance use measures included in the analyses. Among these measures, current alcohol use, lifetime cocaine, lifetime methamphetamine, lifetime heroin, and lifetime injection drug use decreased during 2009–2019. Lifetime use of synthetic marijuana decreased during 2015–2019. The prevalence of lifetime marijuana use increased during 2009–2013 (36.8%–40.7%) and then decreased during 2013–2019 (40.7%–36.8%). No statistically significant changes from 2017 to 2019 were observed for any of the substance use behaviors.
"Compared with females, males had a significantly higher prevalence of lifetime use of cocaine (4.9% versus 2.7%), methamphetamine (2.7% versus 1.5%), heroin (2.3% versus 1.0%), and injection drug use (2.1% versus 1.1%) (Table 2). Compared with males, females had a significantly higher prevalence of current alcohol use (31.9% versus 26.4%), binge drinking (14.6% versus 12.7%), current prescription opioid misuse (8.3% versus 6.1%), and lifetime prescription opioid misuse (16.1% versus 12.4%). Among racial/ethnic groups, notable differences in prevalence estimates were identified for current use of alcohol, binge drinking, current prescription opioid misuse, and lifetime use of cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, injection drug use, and synthetic marijuana. However, no clear pattern emerged. For example, the prevalence of current prescription opioid misuse was significantly lower among white students (5.5%) compared with black (8.7%) or Hispanic students (9.8%). Conversely, the prevalence of current alcohol use was lower among black students (16.8%) compared with white (34.2%) or Hispanic students (28.4%).
"Approximately half of the substance use behaviors varied substantially by grade, with consistently higher prevalence among 11th- and 12th-grade students compared with 9th- and 10th-grade students for current marijuana use, current alcohol use and binge drinking, lifetime marijuana use, lifetime cocaine use, lifetime methamphetamine use, and lifetime synthetic marijuana. Prevalence of all but one of the substance use behaviors (i.e., binge drinking) varied considerably by sexual identity. Students who identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual had a higher prevalence of all substance use behaviors, except binge drinking, compared with students who identified as heterosexual. Similarly, students who identified as not sure of their sexual identity also had higher prevalence of approximately half of the substance use behaviors compared with heterosexual students, including current prescription opioid misuse, lifetime cocaine use, lifetime methamphetamine use, lifetime heroin use, lifetime injection drug use, and lifetime prescription opioid misuse. However, students who identified as not sure of their sexual identity had lower prevalence of certain substance use behaviors compared with students identifying as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, including current marijuana use, current alcohol use, and lifetime marijuana use."
Jones CM, Clayton HB, Deputy NP, Roehler DR, Ko JY, Esser MB, Brookmeyer KA, Hertz MF. Prescription Opioid Misuse and Use of Alcohol and Other Substances Among High School Students - Youth Risk Behavior Survey, United States, 2019. MMWR Suppl. 2020 Aug 21;69(1):38-46. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.su6901a5. PMID: 32817608; PMCID: PMC7440199.