Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Tale of Two Nations

The latest Monitoring the Future results for 2015 are in.  Among students in grades 8, 10, and 12, alcohol and tobacco use have both fallen to record lows, and the use of most other substances has either declined or shown no significant change from last year.  Cannabis has held steady as well after falling a bit last year.  "Binge" drinking (5+ drinks per occasion) has also fallen to a record low, and as we noted last year, extreme binge drinking (10+ drinks per occasion) has also been falling for several years now.

Meanwhile, things aren't quite so rosy for the American population in general.  While drunk driving deaths specifically are at a record low, alcohol-related deaths (excluding crashes, accidents, and homicides) have actually reached a 35-year high in 2014.  This increase in the death rate, which began around 2000, is likely due to two things:  the aging of the population, and a general increase in per-capita alcohol consumption since the late 1990s.  Drug overdose deaths have also doubled since 1999 as well, driven mostly by heroin and prescription opioids.

In other words, America's overall drinking (and drug) problem appears to be getting worse, but it is clearly NOT being driven primarily by young people.  Those Baby Boomers (and now Generation Xers) who complain about the problems of "kids today" might just want to look in the mirror before pointing the finger at Millennials (and now post-Millennials).  So can we finally stop with the "vicarious puritanism" already?

Have a Safe And Happy Holiday Season

It is that time of year again when the holidays are upon us, and many of us Americans (and around the world) will be celebrating with alcohol and/or other substances.  We at Twenty-One Debunked would like to remind everyone to be safe and celebrate responsibly.  There is absolutely no excuse for drunk driving at any age, period.  We cannot stress this enough.  It's very simple--if you plan to drive, don't drink, and if you plan to drink, don't drive.  It's really not rocket science, folks.  And there are numerous ways to avoid mixing the two.  Designate a sober driver, take a cab, use public transportation, crash on the couch, or even walk if you have to.  Or stay home and celebrate there.  Or don't drink--nobody's got a gun to your head.  And the same goes for other psychoactive substances as well.