Excessive consumption of alcohol, marijuana and hallucinogens has reached historic highs among adults aged 35 to 50 in the United States.
Almost a third of people in this age group reported having consumed alcohol – having more than five drinks on one occasion – in 2022, up from 23% in 2012, National Institutes of Health research found.
Marijuana use among 35-50 year olds has also reached historic highs, more than doubling from 13% in 2012 to 28% last year. The dramatic increase could be partly due to the growing legalization of the drug in US states.
And the proportion of adults using hallucinogens, such as LSD, MDMA and mushrooms, also doubled in 10 years. While 4% reported having used them in 2022, less than 1% used these drugs ten years ago.
Rising rates of depression are likely a factor pushing adults to take to the bottle, as the expectation that alcohol will alleviate these feelings may increase an individual’s desire to drink more, other studies have suggested.
Depression rates are believed to have been exacerbated during the Covid-19 pandemic due to lockdowns, loss of loved ones and increased isolation and anxiety.
Nearly a third of people in this age group reported having consumed alcohol – having more than five drinks on one occasion – in 2022, up from 23% in 2012, National Institutes of Health research has found.
Marijuana use among 35-50 year olds has reached historic highs, more than doubling from 13% in 2012 to 28% last year
The consumption of hallucinogens, such as LSD, MDMA and mushrooms, has doubled in 10 years to reach 4% in 2022, compared to less than 1% ten years ago among people aged 35 to 50.
The survey also looked at alcohol and drug use among 19- to 30-year-olds, with more marijuana users than older adults. In 2022, 44% of these young adults said they use it, compared to 28% in 2012.
Hallucinogen use in this group was twice that of their older counterparts, with 8% reporting use of these types of drugs. This is significantly higher than ten years ago, which was 3%.
However, self-reported heavy drinking among 19-30 year olds had fallen to 30.5% in 2022 from 35% a decade earlier.
Monitoring the Future, an ongoing research initiative that uses annual surveys to track the behaviors of American college students into adulthood, has suggested that the varying increases over the years are generational.
Megan Patrick, a research professor at the University of Michigan and lead researcher on the study, said: “Trends in drug use change over decades and across development, from adolescence to middle age. adult.
“Behaviours and public perception of drug use can change rapidly, depending on the availability of drugs and other factors.”
For example, among adults aged 35 to 50, 50-year-olds had used marijuana the least, with 68% reporting having used it at some point in their life.
The study said: “These respondents graduated from high school in 1990, when marijuana and other drugs were at or near historically low levels for the past four decades, suggesting a cohort effect .”
The cohort effect is the effect that being born in a certain time or region has on the development or perceptions of a group of individuals.
A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that drug and alcohol-related deaths among people over the age of 65 had more than tripled over the past two decades, with 17,000 people died from these causes in 2020 alone.
Deaths among women in this age group were increasing at a higher rate than among men.
Alcohol-related death rates were rising even before Covid-19 – a time when both men and women were known to turn to alcohol during isolation and the stress of pandemic lockdowns.
Women may have drunk more because of stress, depression and anxiety, but also because of loneliness as many are left behind after the death of a male partner, experts have said in a study published in JAMA.
Alcohol also affects women differently, the study explains.
Women’s bodies tend to have less water to dilute alcohol concentrations than men’s, which means they are more likely to develop health problems from alcohol.