NIDA for Teens: The Science Behind Drug Abuse
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Drugs & Health Blog

Real Teens Ask: How Old Are Kids Who Start Using Drugs?

Sara Bellum

Lots of teens have questions about drugs. Each year, NIDA scientists spend a day chatting online with high school students and answering their questions.

At the last Drug Facts Chat Day, soccerstar0 asked:

“On average how old are kids who start using drugs?”

Research shows that drug use often starts in the teen years. You might have heard that, but here’s something you may not know—the science shows that the younger you are when you start using drugs, the more likely you are to get addicted later on. Doing drugs can also cause problems with friends, in sports, and in school.

Let’s face it—when someone tells us not to do something, that sometimes makes it seem more exciting. But drugs can really do some not-so-exciting things to your body. NIDA researchers discovered that drugs can literally change the way your brain works. And since your own brain won’t finish growing until you’re 25, you probably don’t want to mess with that process by doing drugs.

Comments

Wow I started to take drugs when I was about 12 ( only weed ) I am seventeen now I still smoke weed. I don't really think that it affeced any of my academic archivements. I cam out of my secondar school with 15 grades A* to C and I'm at college now doing my first year studing Law and it is going very well. Maybe I had some arguments with my friends over drugs , but not much and it did not affect our realtionship. So overall drugs didnt really affect my life in a bad way.

@MercySon--you may be one of the lucky ones who so far hasn’t seen any bad effects, but according to NIDA scientists, about 9% of those who use drugs become dependent on them...a percentage that increases to about 25-50% for people who use every day--which means they can’t stop even though they know drugs are messing up their lives. In one study, people who smoked for 30 years said they were less satisfied with their lives, had less happiness in their relationships, and poorer physical and mental health compared to their non-smoking peers. And like NIDA's Director says, "Imagine what you could be without it."

you are a lil young....i myself am 31 and have been smoking weed, since 13. Then did ecstasy for about 10 years. Every weekend about 4-6 pills a weekend. Then LSD Shrooms xanax coke heroin k dmt lsa klonopin valium.....anything under the sun....and i decided it was time to grow up......and i loved those 15 plus years of using drugs but I have no kids, girlsfriends here and there, and I work at a computer company. So if you are responsible....and use moderation....do it. If you cant dont cuz it will lead you to a life of hell. I love my life now, I just do what i am prescribed to which is xanax, adderall and subutex, which the adderall was rxed at 15, xanax at 18 for ptsd cuz i found a dead body and 3 family members died in the same day when i was 16, but and subs or buprenorphine. I take a lil of each, each day. Not selling or abusing, but i need it. Just stay safe. I quit all opiates 2 years ago after 4 ods in 3 months and losing a best friend of 18 years. So just think before you do stuff. I screwed up definately. But i got back up, not everybody does...
To MercySon: Obviously drugs have affected you in some way, because you have several simple grammer errors. I am 15 and i can spell much better than you. You may be lucky so far, but not for long. -Against-
That's mean ya'll, what if he's dyslexic...
Well MercySon....It looks like it has effected your spelling. So...yes marijuana has effected you. Good luck to you.
why did u use drugs
because I love them really much
i never used drugs
I hate drugs
what age did you start
11 years old I was in 6grade (middle school)
You say your seventeen and in college at law school. Your a genius for a drug user.
What's wrong with seventeen and a college student? I'm practically a seventeen years old first year medtech student. 17 and a college student is normal in our country - PH
Not smart enough because she's doing drug!
If he/she was born at the end of the year, yah, they will be 17 when they start post-secondary education. I will be too. So think before you judge people. K thanks.
What year were you born?
Hi, I'm only 12 and I'm doing a project on why students should be drug tested before they are aloud to be a member on the sports team at our school.Im really happy that your life turned out so well and that drugs did not affect your life to bad but at my age I have seen several people die from smoking,and I even attended one of the funerals because I was rather close to one of them.But that aside I just have one question for you mercy son, are you telling me drugs are ok to do and that if I do them they won't affect me like you? =(
you are stupid dont do weed
Why are you saying that weed is bad if your going to say that they're stupid for doing it I think you should be saying that they stupid for over drinking at a young age. Weed isn't that bad people try to scare you by saying that it ruins your life when it doesn't if you think about it how many people have been in fights in pubs night clubs and in the streets because of drinking too much and how many people have even thrown a punch because they are high weed is peaceful and I am 15 and it is something everyone in my school does
It affected your grammar. -_-
I hate drugs
Dude stop doing weed

i cant beleive this site exists and spreads lies of cannabis saying it has no medical use?? Are you still living in the 30's lol you cannot spread these lies to create fear anymore to the youth.

Hi wow!
This is a controversial issue for sure. Just so you know, NIDA funds much of the research showing that THC--the active ingredient in marijuana--produces effects that can be useful for treating a variety of medical conditions. NIDA's main concern though is more about young people who smoke marijuana to get high. Because our brains don't stop developing till the mid-20's, doing drugs while your brain is still maturing, can be especially dangerous. For example, marijuana can cause problems with memory and coordination--who needs that?!

i agree with you there maney medical uses my grandma used for her breast cancer

aqui no brasil as dogas tomaram conta a violencia se tornou insuportavel, gostei muito do blog parabens

were can i find out good stuf! about drugs ??

@peepee--you mean other than here? LOL. Here's something else that has a lot of info on drugs: It's called The Science of Addiction. Thanks for your question.

do 10 year olders do drugs

@coolone--sadly, some do. Hopefully, someone in their life will care enough to help them if that's the case.

It is possible for kids that young to start using that is actually when i started to smoke weed.

I NEED DRUGS.......LOL
THIS IS TRUE THE MORE
THE PARENTS TELL U NOT
TO DO DRUGS THE MORE
U WANT TO TRY....

Dear people who ake drugs, Dont take them.

Love Drug Busters

Drugs are so bad for you. It causes serios health issues and people wont like you because of your bad and stupid move of taking drugs. It is bad for men to take steroids because some of the side effects are Development of breasts and a shrinking of the testicles and also enlargement prostate. Embaress your self now and die or be cool and clean instead of nerdy and dirty.

This song is in the Melody of Ghost Busters. If theres something strange in the drug store, who ya gonna call?!... DRUG BUSTERS.

Dear people who take drugs,
Drugs are stupid dont take them.

hey

I agree with the Drug Busters Drugs are STUPID!!!!!

This site dosen't work!!!

Teens think its cool to take drugs but why do they? DRUG STINKS!

Pleease moderate my comment its the truth

@ROLER ONE: some times this is true but sometimes not. A lot of kids do drugs because a adult tells them not to but i find most of the time thay tell them this at the stage that they are tring to find them selves and they think to have controle thay need to do what the opposit of what we tell them. anuther is they think its cool to do them or there presherd in to it. (plz read this)

do you do drugs because you have some bad grammar

Okay i smoked weed when i was 13.... it was at a party & lemmme tell yu the effects are fun! but some of them not so mcuh.... i have alot of regrets i canttake back now! soo its your cchoice....(:

Hi..What is the earliest that poeple start taking drugs?...Why do teens start taking drugs in the first place?

@curious--I don't really know what the "earliest" is that some people start taking drugs. I did hear a famous movie star (who went on to have a lot of problems with drugs) say recently in an interview that she started when she was 9! But that is not the norm. Usually, people start in their teens, because of a variety of reasons, whether peer pressure, to experiment, or to get a high. Unfortunately, the earlier you start the more likely it is that you will have problems in the future, including possible addiction.

Well I basically smoked for the first time when I was likeee 13? and didn't get addicted until a year later until I was 14, After that I went on to xanax , ecstasy, inhalants , promethazine/codeine, cough syrup, vicodins, whipits, alcohol and ciggarettes . Now at 16 I'm trying to stop but it's like the drugs have become who I am.. Now I don't blame want to put weed at fault here because I don't believe theres anything wrong with it but after smoking marijuana for so long I basically wanted to feel stronger high's so that lead me to other sh**.
gateway pretty much..

There is all kinds of drugs, And are so easy for childern to get hold of these days,I think more needs to be done by the schools and parents. Parents need to talk to their children about the danger of drugs.I mean kids can get hold of drugs, just like buying sweets in the shop or candy.

I think people should come to realization that drugs do nothing but harm your body. If you dont agree with me i dont need opinions but in the long run you're going to regret it because of one stupid mistake you made. Of course now its fun, But when the heart diseases and lung cancer starts it just gets FUNNER. call drug busters?

Wow i cant believe it!!! People are stupid enough to take drugs?!?!?! It effects your whole life next time you feel the need to get high,see a therapist or be stupid and take drugs.ITS YOUR LIFE,LIVE IT HOW YOU WANT TO........

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