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NIDA. (2016, February 22). Alcohol and Drug Use in College-Aged Young Adults: 2014 Monitoring the Future Survey Results. Retrieved from

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The NIDA Blog Team
February 22 2016
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Want a quick look at the latest numbers on college-aged young adults’ use of alcohol, marijuana, nicotine, and stimulants? Check out the data below. It shows the results from the most recent Monitoring the Future national survey on substance use in this age group.

Marijuana Use Among Full-Time College Students on the Rise

  • College students now smoke marijuana daily more often than they drink alcohol daily
  • Daily drinking: 3.7 percent in 1994, 4.3 percent in 2014
  • Daily marijuana smoking: 1.8 percent in 1994, 5.9 percent in 2014 (the highest rate since 1980, surpassing daily cigarette smoking for the first time)
  • Daily marijuana use has more than tripled in the past two decades among college students: 1.8 percent smoked marijuana daily in 1994, 4.5 percent in 2004, and 5.9 percent in 2014

Heavy Alcohol Use Higher in College Students than Non-College Peers

  • Binge drinking (five or more drinks in a row): 35.4 percent of college students, 29.3 percent of non-college peers in the past 2 weeks
  • Intoxication (having been drunk): 42.6 percent of college students, 34.1 percent of non-college peers in the past month

Nicotine Use More Common in Young Adults Not in College

  • Four times more non-college young adults smoke half a pack of cigarettes or more daily than full-time college students
  • Cigarettes (past-month use): 12.9 percent of college students, 24.6 percent of non-college peers
  • E-cigarettes (past-month use): 9.7 percent of college students, 15.4 percent of non-college peers

Stimulant Use in Full-Time College Students: Adderall Decreasing but Cocaine Increasing

  • Adderall use in the past year: 10.7 percent in 2013, 9.6 percent in 2014
  • Cocaine use in the past year: 2.7 percent in 2013, 4.4 percent in 2014

Your brain is still developing during your young adult years. Consider your choices carefully, now and as you enter adulthood.

To continue reading about this topic, see these blog posts: A Sober College Experience? and Hazing and Alcohol: Time to Break With “Tradition.”