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College students’ marijuana use hit highs in 2020, alcohol use saw ‘significant’ decrease, study shows

Marijuana use among U.S. college students hit a historic high in 2020, while alcohol use might have taken a pandemic-induced dip, a new study shows.

College students’ marijuana consumption rose in 2020, continuing a “significant increase” over the past five years, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s annual “Monitoring the Future” study. The recent surge has boosted college student marijuana use to its highest mark since 1983.

Meanwhile, alcohol use was less common among college students than in previous years. The study showed decreases from 2019 in terms of binge drinking, getting drunk and overall alcohol use.

The changes in substance use came as COVID-19 forced college students to navigate social distancing measures, online classes and an overall muted version of normal campus life. And for some students, their 2020 college experience was fully remote.

The pandemic “dramatically changed” the way college students and young people interact with each other, said National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora D. Volkow, but it’s unclear whether these changes in drug use will hold.

“It will be critical to investigate how and when different substances are used among this young population, and the impact of these shifts over time,” Volkow said in a news release.  [Read More @ USA Today]

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