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Trends in Marijuana and Other Illicit Drug Use Among College Students: Results from 4 Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study Surveys: 1993-2001


The present study examines changes in illicit drug use by college students between 1993 and 2001, the patterns of polydrug use, and the relationship between age of initiation of substance use and later use of marijuana and other illicit drugs. The study used data from the Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study at 119 colleges and universities. The results indicate that the percent of past 30-day, past-year, and lifetime marijuana users increased significantly between 1993 and 2001 (from 13% to 17%, 23% to 30%, and 41% to 47%, respectively), with most of the increase occurring between 1993 and 1997. The past 30-day and past-year use of other illicit drugs also increased from 4% to 7% and from 11% to 14%, respectively. More than 98% of marijuana and other illicit drug users smoked, binge drank, and/or used other illicit substances. Drug prevention programs should include heavy alcohol use and smoking and start in high school or earlier.

Mohler-Kuo M, Lee JE, Wechsler H.

Original Publication:
Journal of American College Health. 2003; 52(1): 17-24.