The average American teen of high school age prefers smoking a joint to having a binge drinking session – at least, that's what a recent study shared by the Washinton Post would suggest.
Using newly published data from 2014, US drug prevention site ProjectKnow.com reports that while alcohol consumption seems to be on the decrease, cannabis use remains... high. It's worth noting that only Colorado and the State of Washington had legalised weed at the time, followed by Alaska, D.C and Oregon in 2015.
As it turns out, the decline of alcohol consumption among those aged from 12 to 17 is quite considerable: while 17.6% admitted to regularly drinking in 2002, this rate reached just 11.6% in 2013. Cannabis use has also gone down during this time – but a little less.
The five US jurisdictions citing the highest rate of young people admitting to using the drug over the past 30 days are as follows: D.C. 32.2%; New Mexico, 27.8%; Washington 26.7%; Connecticut 26%; and Vermont 25.7%.
Compare these figures to those concerning binge-drinking and there are significant alterations: West Virginia comes out top with 24.4%, followed by Montana (23.5%), New Jersey (23%), Iowa (23 %) and Arkansas (22.9%).
The study uses the Centers for Disease Control's definition of binge-drinking which entails "drinking five or more alcoholic beverages within two hours". Each year in the US, 4,300 young people die in alcohol-related incidents.
The study then goes on to compare binge-drinking within Europe and the results are, more or less, turned upside down: Austria comes out top with 80% admitting to binge-drinking within the past 30 days, followed by 73% in Germany. Coming in third is the UK with 70%.
On the other hand, European countries tend to have a marijuana usage rate of around 10 % of less. Topping the weed charts is France with 24%, while only 11% of UK teens admit to having used Mary Jane in the past 30 days.