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Commentary By Charles Fain Lehman

Beware America’s Recreational Drug Boom

Health Culture & Society

A record number of adults are using marijuana and psychedelics

Americans, from college to middle age, have a newfound taste for drugs, and are smoking marijuana and taking psychedelics at unprecedented rates. 

That’s according to the Monitoring the Future survey, which has tracked, among other topics, American substance use since the mid-1970s. The latest figures for MTF’s adult cohort, reported in the New Scientist, indicate that roughly a quarter of adults aged 35-50, and almost half of adults aged 19-30, said they had used marijuana in the past 12 months. About 4% of older adults, and 8% of younger adults, reported past-year use of psychedelics like LSD and MDMA.  

Both these figures are historic highs. The psychedelic use rates are up dramatically from a decade prior, when less than 1% of each group used psychedelics. Rates of adult marijuana use more than doubled in the same period, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. 

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Charles Fain Lehman is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal.

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