College vs. Non-College Substance Use

Based on 2016 Monitoring the Future data, college students use alcohol more heavily and misuse more amphetamines than their non-college peers, but non-college young adults use more nicotine.


Binge drinking: 32.4% of college students and 28.7% of non-college peers had 5 or more drinks in a row, at least once in the 2 weeks prior to the 2016 survey.


Intoxication: 40.8% of college students (4 in 10) and 30.4% of non-college peers (3 in 10) said they had been drunk in the past month.



Amphetamines: 9.9% of college students and 6.2% of their non-college peers reported using Adderall in the past year. Past-year use of Ritalin was 2.4% in college students and 1.6% in non-college peers.



Nicotine: Young adults not in college were over two times more likely to smoke cigarettes. Almost 19% of non-college young adults smoked cigarettes in the last month, compared with 9% of college students. Using e-vaporizers and hookah was somewhat higher among non-college young adults.



Data come the Monitoring the Future study of adults in the US. Adjusted text and graphics come from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH).