Millennials. Who are they? Is this generation using more drugs and alcohol? Does it even matter? All of these are valid questions when it comes to discussing this generation and addiction.
Most consider millennials to be anyone born between the early 1980's and the late 1990's. So this means that people currently in their early 30's, all the way down to some teenagers fall into this generation. When it comes to millennials and substance abuse, one would think that since they are considered to be mostly made up of young people they would be using drugs and alcohol more. But is this even true? Let's find out!
Millennials and Recreational Drug Use
Millennials are a different generation. Some would call them the first internet generation, and this is important. You see, in the past young people were automatically associated with higher rates of experimenting with drugs. As the times have changed, so has technology and lots of millennials have grown up with computers, the internet, and using social media to some extent. This means their lives have been documented in pictures and words for many adults, and media members to see. This has created a spotlight into the lives of teens not experienced with generations of the past. This has been both good and bad for teens. Bad because media latches onto millennial drug use every chance they can get. However there is some good news, also. According to the NIDA, or the the National Institute on Drug Abuse, millennials have used fewer drugs and consumed less alcohol than their parents' peers did.
Thanks to the data from the NIDA we know that teenage drug use declined by more than 34% between 1993 and 2013. This is a crucial decade because it encompasses the teenage years of almost all millennials.
Millennials and Alcohol Consumption
Just like with casual drug use, alcohol consumption is also less common for the millennial generation. According to the same NIDA research, teen drinking has decreased by 42% since 2003 alone. When you look back to 1995, you'll see that the numbers have decreased by more than 60%. Considering that a good part of this generation is now well into their 20's or 30's, this age group is also leaning away from hard liquor. They have more of a preference for craft beers and select wines instead.
Millennials and Marijuana
Based on the same NIDA report, the one exception is marijuana. Cocaine, heroin, and many of the other illicit drugs commonly used showed a sharp decline in popularity with teens. Marijuana on the other hand showed a slow, yet steady increase.
There are several factors that could be causing this to happen. One factor is that more and more states across the U.S. are loosening their laws regarding marijuana use to allow for either medicinal or recreational use. This has given more people a different attitude toward the drug compared to years past, and has also given more people access to higher grade and more potent strains of marijuana.
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