Nobody is saying that alcohol is dead, but younger drinkers are definitely affecting its decline in popularity. Recent trends show that people under 30 are getting tired of drinking and dealing with their hangovers. Can you blame them?
The Atlantic interviewed over 100 people in their 20s and 30s, asking them why they’ve decided to cut back on their alcohol consumption. “It wasn’t until I hit my 30s that I realized that alcohol was no longer my friend,” explains Leanne Vanderbyl, from San Francisco.
There’s a lot of reasons that affect this new perspective on alcohol, ranging from a focus on a healthier lifestyle, to people trying to cut back on costs and finally, to the existence of other drugs that are also asking for consumers’ attention.
An international study from 2017 explains that countries with legal marijuana experienced a 12 percent drop in alcohol purchases. Despite contradictory opinions on the matter, it seems like the cannabis and the alcohol industries are at times in competition with each other. Vanderbyl explains that she chooses marijuana over alcohol because the former doesn’t leave her feeling sick and hungover. “I can wake up in the morning feeling ready for the day,” she says.
The Atlantic consulted with addictions therapist Britta Stark, who explains that there’s several things that are affecting young people and their relationship to alcohol. “Folks in the millennial generation have maybe a better sense of balance. Some do yoga or meditation or are physically active, so they don’t need to find stimulation and stress reduction in substances.” Another, more concerning explanation is the fact that millennials have complicated relationships with over-the-counter medicines and other dangerous substances. Suicide rates are up among young adults, and America’s opioid problem is as strong as ever.
For an accurate picture to be depicted, more time needs to pass and more studies need to shed a light on the matter. Alcohol’s fate will ultimately be decided by younger generations.