Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

18- to 24-Year-Olds

Alcohol and substance abuse rates increase steadily in the years following high school. Compared to all other age groups, young adults (18-24 yrs) experience the highest prevalence of binge drinking (42%), heavy drinking (15%), and illicit drug use (20%). Some of the highest rates of driving under the influence and other high risk behaviors are found in this population as well, along with their corresponding and potentially tragic consequences. Research indicates, however, that preventing or delaying substance use during adolescence reduces significantly the risk of developing dependence or abuse later on. Understanding adolescent and young adult neuropsychological functioning, reducing and treating for substance dependence in the military, and the unique challenges arising in workplaces, on college campuses, and in other settings are some of the key issues surrounding alcohol and substance abuse among young adults.


  • The U.S. Department of Education's Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Violence Prevention