Marijuana Use Among College Students Climbs 22% Over 6 Years By JENNIFER YACHNIN
Marijuana use by college students nationwide increased nearly 22 percent from 1993 to 1999, according to a report by Harvard University's School of Public Health. The report also states that use of other illicit drugs saw a similar increase in the same period.
Researchers at the public-health school analyzed student drug use by using information from the school's College Alcohol Study. The study, which was conducted in 1993, 1997, and 1999, examined more than 14,000 students randomly selected from 119 four-year colleges in 40 states and the District of Columbia.
The number of students who reported having recently used marijuana -- those who used the drug in the 30 days before participating in the survey -- rose from 12.9 percent in 1993 to 15.7 percent in 1999. Students who reported using marijuana within a one-year period climbed to 26.4 percent from 24 percent.
The most significant increases occurred between 1993 and 1997, the report states, with minor increases between the second and third survey.
The use of illicit drugs other than marijuana rose nearly 21 percent among college students from 1993 to 1999. Such drugs include amphetamines, barbiturates, cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin, opiates, or tranquilizers.
Researchers say the increase in marijuana use among college students could be a result of increased drug use reported among adolescents in the early 1990's, as found in a 1999 University of Michigan study.
"The increase parallels an earlier increase reported by the 'Monitoring the Future' study, and it may reflect these students' enrolling in college," said Henry Wechsler, the director of the alcohol study. "If that's the case, this is quite different than the drug epidemic in the late 1960's and early 1970's, where the drug use seemed to start in college and trickle down to younger students. In this case, younger students seem to have brought it into college as they got older."
The report will be published in the November issue of Addiction and will eventually be available for purchase on the journal's Web site.