1. Marijuana use hit an all-time high in 2020.

    A high is not surprising, but all-time high? Marijuana usage rose in 2020, continuing a significant increase over the previous five years, according to naga4d the National Institute of Drug Addiction’s (NIDA) annual “Monitoring the Future” study. The recent explosion put marijuana use by young adults in 2020 at its highest mark since 1983, almost 40 years.

    2. Overdose deaths were the highest ever last year.

    In 2021, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there were 100,306 fatal overdoses in the US, up 28.5% from the previous year and the highest number ever recorded in US history. That’s more than the entire population of Roanoke, Virginia.

    3. 1.25 million years of life have been lost to overdoses.

    We count our lives in years. So, when researchers at The Ohio State University began calculating the years of life lost to unintentional drug overdoses in youth, teens, and young adults ages 10 to 24, the sum total was nothing short of staggering: 1.25 million years of life completely lost. And that number only represents four years of data, according to a report published in JAMA Pediatrics.

    4. Counterfeit pills are killing people everywhere.

    What are Fentapills, you might ask? Umergency, an app blog for college families, reports that they are fake prescription pills laced with deadly fentanyl that look exactly like Xanax, Percocet, hydrocodone, or other drugs. Many adolescents seeking anti-anxiety medications on Snapchat accept delivery at home and never see another day of life. Fentapills have dramatically increased in the US, causing 10,000 near-lethal poisoning cases in the US in 2020, and accounting for 50% of Los Angeles County’s 2021 overdoses alone. It takes only 3 milligrams of fentanyl versus 30 milligrams of heroin to overdose. According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), 42% of pills tested contain at least 2 milligrams of fentanyl, which is a potentially lethal dose.

    5. Collegiate drinking was also lower during the pandemic.

    In 2020, college students reported significantly lower alcohol usage compared to 2019, according to NIDA and the Chicago Sun-Times. Alcohol use recorded in the past 30 days dropped 6% year over year; drinking to intoxication dropped 7%, and binge drinking — consuming five or more drinks consecutively — dropped 8% overall.

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