University of Illinois economists Ben Crost and Santiago Guerrero recently made a unique discovery in regards to drinkers and drug users who are 21. The pair analyzed five years worth of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health’s data to take a look at alcohol and drug use. Some of the findings were not particularly surprising: they found a drastic increase in alcohol consumption in people just over the age of 21. Because this is the legal drinking age, these statistics are to be expected. However, they also found an equally dramatic drop in use of marijuana within the same age group, leading them to believe that marijuana users substitute alcohol once they are of age. The researchers explain that national policies related to alcohol consumption and the legal drinking age may need to be assessed and updated to “take this possible substitution behavior into account.”
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