Underage drinkers are more likely than alcohol users ages 21 or older to use illicit drugs within 2 hours of alcohol use, according to data from the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
One in five (20.1%) underage drinkers reported using at least one illicit drug the last time they used alcohol, compared to 4.9% of those ages 21 or older. Marijuana was the most commonly reported illicit drug used in combination with alcohol by both underage (19.2%) and older (4.4%) drinkers.
In contrast, illicit drugs other than alcohol, including cocaine, heroin, and prescription drugs used nonmedically, were used with alcohol by only 2.2% of underage drinkers and less than 1% of drinkers ages 21 and older.
Future research will be needed to study if the co-occurring use of alcohol and marijuana changes among residents of Colorado and Washington, which have both recently enacted laws legalizing the recreational use of marijuana by adults.
SOURCE: Adapted by CESAR from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables, 2012.
Helping a friend or family member struggling with alcohol or drugs can be heartbreakingly painful but, with help, it can be remarkably rewarding. At times, it can seem so overwhelming that it would be easier to ignore it, pretend that nothing is wrong and hope it just goes away. In the long run, however, denying it or minimizing it, will be more damaging to you, other family members, and the person you are concerned about. Don't Wait, Now Is The Time.
Click here if you are concerned for someone.