A report by Rachel N. Lipari and Beda Jean-Francois presents facts about substance use among US college students aged 18 to 22 using combined data from the 2011 to 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
On an average day during the past year, 2,179 fulltime college students drank alcohol for the first time, and 1,326 used an illicit drug for the first time. 453 part time college students drank alcohol for the first time, and 174 used an illicit drug for the first time.
Of the 9.0 million full-time college students in the United States, 1.2 million drank alcohol, and 703,759 used marijuana. Of the 2.0 million part-time college students in the United States, 239,212 drank alcohol, and 195,020 used marijuana. “The findings show that college is the time when a lot of young people initiate substance use, and alcohol and marijuana are the most frequently initiated substances,” said Dr. David Dean, behavioral research scientist at SAMHSA. “There is a great deal of development that is still occurring during this age, particularly neurophysiological development, that can be inhibited by substance abuse.”