While daily marijuana use has been steadily increasing in prevalence among young adults over the past decade, the level has reached an all-time high in non-college young adults to nearly three times that of their college peers. The biggest division between the groups, however, was seen in annual, past month, and daily cigarette smoking rates. This section features the most recent Monitoring the Future national survey results on substance use in this age group, including patterns of marijuana and alcohol use, nicotine use, and non-medical use of prescription drugs. It also covers newer trends, such as e-vaporizers and hookahs. New this year, the survey identified statistics related to e-vaporizer use of nicotine and marijuana separately from other smoking forms. This section also has resources for students, parents, educators, dorm supervisors, counselors, clinicians, and researchers who work with this age group.
Drug and Alcohol Use in College-Age Adults in 2017 Infographic
Learn more about:
Thinking about a career in Addiction Science?
- College Addiction Studies Programs
- Summer Internship Program at the NIH
- About the Addiction Medicine Subspecialty
Interested in holding an event during National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week® that focuses on reaching college-age young adults?
- What is National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week®?
- College Event Toolkit
- Prevention Profiles: Take Five - Dr. Nora Volkow (NIDA) (Podcast, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA): Campus Drug Prevention)
Resources for College Students and Parents
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA): Campus Drug Prevention
- Drugs and Paraphernalia – a one-stop reference for everything related to drugs—from their appearance, paraphernalia, effects on the body and more. Please note: The content you are about to see contains pictures of drugs or drug use. Such pictures can cause problems for people who are addicted to drugs.
- Views from the Field – articles offering federal, national, state, and local perspectives across the nation.
- Podcasts – Podcast series, "Prevention Profiles: Take Five"
U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA): College Women’s Campaign
provides information on health topics such as safe medication use, sleep problems, and birth control. Sample messages are also provided for student leaders and college health professionals to use in their outreach.
American College Health Association: Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs/Substance Use
This page is an index of ACHA and other resources on this topic. Resources include association projects, programs, publications, guidelines, and more.
Behavioral Health among College Students Information & Resource Kit (PDF, 7MB)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
The College Life Study at the Center on Young Adult Health and Development
an NIH-funded project at the University of Maryland that aims to understand the health-related behaviors of young adults during a critical life transition.
College Parents Matter
Tools and scripts to improve communication with your college student.
JED foundation’s U Lifeline
ULifeline is an anonymous, confidential, online resource center - where college students can be comfortable searching for the information they need and want regarding emotional health.
The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse
This national nonprofit research and policy organization is focused on improving the understanding, prevention, and treatment of substance use and addiction. They conduct and synthesize research, inform and guide the public, evaluate and improve health care, and analyze and recommend policies on substance use and addiction.
Shatterproof is a national nonprofit dedicated to reducing the devastation that addiction to prescription drugs, illicit drugs, and alcohol causes to families.
- Step-by-Step Guide: What to Do If You Have a Problem with Drugs
- MEDLINEplus Health Information on Drug Abuse - National Library of Medicine, NIH
- www.abovetheinfluence.com - Office of National Drug Control Policy
- healthfinder.gov - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Past information on many drugs of abuse is available on our Archives site.
Clinical trials are research studies in human volunteers conducted to answer specific health questions. Learn about the NIH-sponsored clinical trials available to you.
- NIDA Clinical Trial Locator - answer a few simple questions and get contact information for Clinical Trials near you.
Other Clinical Trials information sources:
- NIH Clinical Trials and You - NIH site that helps explain about clinical trials and why people participate.
- NIDA Trials at ClinicalTrials.gov - a resource of federally and privately supported clinical trials.
- Clinical Research Studies from the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network (CTN) - a NIDA coordinated network of research institutions conducting human trials on drug abuse solutions.
- Research Studies at NIDA Intramural Research Program - located in Baltimore, Maryland.
Get this Publication
Cite this article
NIDA. (2018, February 15). College-Age & Young Adults. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/college-age-young-adults
This series of reports simplifies the science of research findings for the educated lay public, legislators, educational groups, and practitioners. The series reports on research findings of national interest.
Alcohol and You
Answers teens’ most frequently asked questions about drugs and abuse with scientific facts and engaging images.