An analysis of national survey data indicates that students attending college are at a significantly higher risk of beginning to use marijuana than those not enrolled in college, underscoring the need for improved prevention efforts. The research, conducted by scientists at the University of Michigan, was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health.
The study found that the increased probability of past-year marijuana use for those enrolled in college versus not enrolled was 51% in 2015, 41% in 2014, and 31% in 2013. Prior to 2013 (between 1977-2012), youth in college who had never used marijuana in high school were 17-22% more likely to use marijuana in the past year than their peers not in college. The researchers examined marijuana use before and after 2013, the first full year after recreational marijuana use was legalized in Colorado and Washington state.
The authors examined survey data from the annual Monitoring the Future study. These findings highlight the importance of developing and implementing marijuana education and prevention programs in a college setting.
For a copy of the paper — "The Influence of College Attendance on Risk for Marijuana Initiation in the United States: 1977-2015"— published in the American Journal of Public Health, go to: http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/pdf/10.2105/AJPH.2017.303745 (PDF, 606KB).
For information about marijuana use, go to: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana.
NIDA Press Office
About the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): NIDA is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug use and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to inform policy, improve practice, and advance addiction science. For more information about NIDA and its programs, visit www.drugabuse.gov.
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