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Real Teens Ask: What Types of Drugs are High School Students Using?

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Sara Bellum
September 03, 2009

ots of teens have questions about drugs. That’s why each year, NIDA scientists spend a day chatting online with high school students and answering their questions.

At NIDA’s last Drug Facts Chat Day, ham223 asked this question:

“What types of drugs are most used by high school students?”

According to NIDA’s Monitoring the Future Surveywhich looks at the different drugs that teens are using—alcohol is number one (yes, it’s a drug), followed by tobacco and marijuana, which are pretty equal. Turns out, though, that not many teens are using most illegal drugs. The survey shows that in 2008, fewer than 1 in 6 10th graders reported that they used any illegal drug in the past month. And the numbers are still going down.

Comments

i think dat drugs are really bad for your health !! drugs make you have no self confidence and you are never yourself… soo even tho ive never taken drugs !! my advice is too any 1 to never ever take drugs … its not worth losing your family and fighting wit ur friends… [commercial link removed, per guidelines]

ok i have not done any "bad" drugs but i do drink and i do smoke the Mary Jane (marijuana), and i am a sophomore in high school. some people say that you will have your grads drop and you will have mood swings but no that is not the case with a lot of people, i know a bunch of people that do smoke the Mary Jane and they r the same all the time. i for one only smoke when there is no school or on the weekends with friends and i love it. and i am even thinkin bout experimenting with other drugs just to see ow it feels and what it does to me, any ways this is the time and age to do it.

@Special_K Hmm - not sure I agree. This may be the worst time to “do it,” as you say, because at least until your mid-20s your brain is still developing and drugs of abuse can affect it—including your memory, your coordination, your motivation, all the things that help you succeed in school and, well, in life. Drugs are not the healthiest way to make you feel good. Developing hobbies, getting together with friends, listening to music are just a few activities that can put you on a path to feeling good - not just from the artificial chemical release that drugs create in your brain, but from having accomplishing something you might be proud of down the road. Can you think of other stuff you like to do that doesn’t require altering your brain? Just a thought.

I'm a senior in high school at the moment, taking 3 ap courses and an in college class. I smoke marijuana daily since 10th grade. As of yet, the only harmful effect I've had was fluid build-up in my lungs. Which I stopped smoking for and took a couple weeks to clear up. Any other drug you can think of, I've done. Any snorted drug does terrible damage to your nose, I would wake up and take a shower only to bleed from my nose every day. Since then I've quit everything except marijuana and drinking. If you let drugs get out of hand, which I've seen happen, it can be very damaging no only to your body but your life in general. The key is to have and keep good friends that can let you know when they feel your habit is getting out of hand. And then not be to proud to get help if you can't quit on your own. I dont advocate the use of drugs, however I feel that simply saying that all drugs are bad for you is an extremist perception that instead of being helpful as intended, but harmful to the youth. People need to know what they can and can't do. Limits of will, mentality, and physical "strength" for lack of a better word, are easily tested by drugs. I'm nit saying either to go out and try to overdose on whatever drug you can get ahold of either, simply that if you try and enjoy a drug, find your limit, with sober supervision, slowly so that if you have the chance to do the drug again, you know how much to take. Again, I do not advocate drug use.

why do teenagers depend on drugs? is it to become popular at school or just to impress or friends

I've never tried drugs, and I dont want to. Most of my friends have either tried drugs or are addicted to them. I've seen what happens to them, and it's not usually pretty. It's hard to quit once you get addicted, but two of my friends have done it. My advice to any teenager is not to start drugs. Ever.

dont do drugs or the drug will do you

@fafa gals - no. teenagers do drugs because they are fun.

@daef you are sooo wrong. People in my schools use drugs just because all their friends do. When they see their friend with drugs they ask to try it. Sad how many people just follow what their friends do.

dont sdo drugs they are bad for you. my father is on bath salts and he does coaine and he is going nuts. he now talks to the underneath of the couch because he thinks people are under there spying on him

people do drug because they like the feeling...its not just because your trying to impress your friends its because we like the feeling

Teens do drugs for many reasons: peer preasure, curiosity, trying to be "cool", etc... The thing is, they are killing their brains. Yes, they give you a great feeling of pleasure, but there is a limit that the human body has before it basically loses that feeling. So, overtime, after continuous use, the body won't feel that pleasure anymore, and not just being "high", but pleasure period. When the user then loses that feeling, they use more of that drug to get that feeling back. From there, they get to a level of danger of OD and cause immense damage to the body they have left. Now, some say "That's will the drugs like heroin, cocaine, and meth." The truth is that it's with any drug that gives that pleasure, whether it be pot, crack, or even some over-the-counter drugs. Honestly, I think that today's society in general is ill-informed on the dangers of drugs, but don't care about them because apparently the search for pleasure in illegal methods is greater than trying to preserve the beauty of pure life.

ST is right. Don't lose out on the real pleasures in life for a mere lie. I know a guy who stopped using meth because he could no longer get high. He has depleted his neurotransmitter production and now he is in poor physical health in danger of death at age 47. I am 45 and spry as I was at 25. He is also anxiety ridden and depressed at the same time. He cannot make decisions, analyze information, remember anything! and is now a lowly chicken fry cook living with his drugged out sister.

I think drugs are horrible. it's not something that any one should do. it does make people different. It's not good. yes ive drank alcohol and yes ive smoked MJ twice and i AM NOT proud of that, but im almost twenty years old. Im in college and i think that YES!...people do try drugs to impress other people. it might not be to impress somebody to make them like you, but i do however think that if you and one of your friends are hanging out and your friend starts to do drugs any type of drugs, and then they ask you, that, that person would be more apps to say yes because of peer pressure. Honestly i think you have to be a pretty strong willed person to turn down anything a friend throw at you. Ive seen people who were close to me in my life, start doing different types of drugs then they start to change, it seems theyre more pron to cause problems or sneak around and hurt people. i think after a while they find plessure in hurting people. I live in the boondocks so out in the country its kinda hard to find things to do. you can get into the car and drive a few miles to get anywhere fun. you have to drive 45minutes to and hour to get to anything like a mall. So i think that people in small towns are more apps to just sit around and drink. I also know girls who are skanky when sober so throw in some alcohol or drugs and they get even worse. and i think its just an excuse! so i think that drugs are bad and i mean all drugs. i do drink every now and then im not gonna lie. and yes thats a type of drug but i know my point, and i honestly dont want to even think about my little sister trying drugs. alcohol isnt to bad but anything else it would break my heart.

this is very true i, doing a project on these types of drugs

SOME PEOPLE DO USE DRUGS FOR PLESURE MOST ESPECIALLY HIGH SCHOOL KIDS, I FO USE THEM BUT I M NOT A HIGH SCHOOL KID AND DONT USE HARD ONES THEY ARE TOO BIG FOR MY BODY ONLY MARY I DO.

I'm about to go into high school next year, and am currently doing a project on drugs. Even though I'm not a high school student yet I have a few things to say:
Stoner4Life as soon as you let yourself do drugs the drug is out of hand. sas is right, you do drugs and the drug will do you, it'll do you in cruel ways and you'll never be able to stop using. If you "only" do marijuana and alcohol that's too much marijuana and alcohol, escpecially scince your not even of age to drink alcohol. The amount of alcohol and pot you should be using is NONE. I'm not trying to lecture you, I'm trying to show to the truth.

k-GEE, just becaus eyour not a high school kid doesn't mean that it's not illegal and is ok for you to use. It doesn't matter if your "not using the hard ones" you shouldn't be using any at all!

BlAh, I tottaly agree with you, drugs are HORRIBLE. Just the thought of someone in my family breaks my heart and puts me to shame of them, let alone my older sister, who's also 20. I know I cant control her life, and she IS 20 (still doesn't make drugs ok) so she can do what she wants (Besides drugs, my mom would kill her whether she was 20 or 50) scince she's a leagal adult, but she's my only sibling, and we're really close.

Ocpsychmajor, that must really hurt, seeing a friend like that.

To any else I missed: DON'T DO DRUGS!!!! I dont care if your the next einstien or just a regular person, you will be labeled "Messed up" and "Needs help" in my mind.

my brother did drugs and my life was hell

@stoner4life: bro, were you stoned when you wrote that?lmfao. k, bro. you just keep on drinking and doin your thing. just cause you dont experience any harmful effects right now, doesnt mean you wont in the future. seriously, since 10th grade?!?!?!?!!? broosskii, where'd the hell did ya get all that money from? why would you waste your [expletive deleted] money on drugs on alcohol. seriously, it doesnt effing matter if your taking freaking ap, college classes. one day you're gonna get really hurt by drugs and alcohol. trust me bro, i lost my dad because of alcohol.

I have had to deal with many situations in my life where drugs can have a horrible effect on peoples lives thats why it is great that we all come together and bring awareness to this issues like we are doing with the new film defining instincts....
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awesome post and great to see people actually talking about it!!!

personally i think students do more drugs that what people expect. The fact is people in their teenage years are finding themselves trying out new things iv done most drugs my self never had bad experience always had fun still do my life isnt ruined its very good i am not addicted to any substance i do it when i want on my own terms a little self control goes a long way.

@ithinkyouworrytoomuch? Right, teenagers like to try new things, which can be good and bad, as everyone knows. And with drugs, while a little self control goes a long way, it’s not always enough. Some people reach a point where they seek and take drugs, despite huge problems it causes for them and their loved ones. At that point, it’s not simply a matter of self control.

My son is 33 years old and badly hooked on bath salts.Like the girl that wrote her dad talks underneath his couch because he thinks people are under there my son thinks someone lives in his attic and people are climbing the trees around his house and watching him.He has pawned most of the stuff in his house to get it.I have been thru his coke addiction with him and he was clean for three years,that was bad but candy compared to this.He has los hurt me when I refuse to give him money fort his job,his son he raised,most family & friends.All I can do for him is pray for him.I have changed my locks not because I think he will rob me but because I think he might hurt me if I refuse to give money.He is not the son I know.One other thing to look for the smell is alful when they smoke it he now surns insense and uses lots of air freshner.I will be praying for you all.
nge
r his job,his son he raised,most friends & family.

@Dale So sorry to hear about the terrible circumstances and repercussions for your family based on your son's addiction to bath salts. For those who have not heard of this drug before, or for others who might think "bath salts" are something far less dangerous, please see our current post on Sara Bellum, Keep "Bath Salts" in the Tub: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/bath-salts-tub/

Wow. I had no idea until today people r actually doing bath salts. A man on bath salts removed his own liver w/ a mechanical pencil while high on bathsalts...

Drugs can be fun,at first.
Kids know this.
But what they don't seem to know/realize is that eventually they control your life,and everything you do.

Drugs are bad dont do them

this is all crazy kids should not do drugs it messes up your future if you believe it or not eapecially if you get styarted too soon it messes up everything .. there is no need if you think you are cool for doing drugs you really aint grow up && stopp withh all the druggss.. NOO NEEDD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

people are stupied for doing drugs ans i know i cant tell them to stop but i bet have the people dont even know how the drug effect ur body in all different reason.DURGS ARENT ANY GOOD FOR U

DONT DO DRuGSS!!!!!!!

i think teenager are so stuipd for doing drugs they do it to make them slef look good will let me tell you something you look stuipd when you smoke you dont have to smoke to become cool or popular just be your slef and it ewill get you some where in love

Drugs don't ju, but most people effect you and your friends, but the other people around you they see you do it and then they wanna try it, so your basically killing some poor sweet mother child who she'll never see again and your the one to blame.

think about that!

love to all the people who loved ones die of drugs....

your not alone

Illegal drugs consumption is very dangerous to everybody.

I'm a junior and I go to a private high school that is very prestigious. In fact 98.7% of men (because it is an all boys school) who graduate go to college from our high school. I took a survey to see who smokes marijuana. My results were shocking in that 64% of men in my research smoked or use marijuana at least once a week. I also took results for GPA's and over 72% of the men I surveyed achieved a 3.7 or higher. I was surprised to see the results, even though I myself smoke marijuana at least once a week. My GPA is at 3.83 and I've gotten a 29 on my ACT. I've researched the effects of marijuana and found that ITS NOT THAT BAD FOR YOU. In fact, ITS NOT HARMFUL AT ALL if you use a vaporizer. It is only somewhat harmful if you smoke it because fluids and other bacteria can get into your lungs. Some people think you can get cancer from it, and that is proven to be wrong in numerous researchers' works. Overall, I believe marijuana is not bad for you, and if you disagree I ask that you do some more research.

I applaud you for your interest in research. I’m sure you realize that your limited sample is necessarily skewed. The new Monitoring the Future (MTF) Survey results, just released December 14, indicate that among 12th-graders, 36.4% reported using marijuana in the past year, and 6.6% reported using daily, or almost daily. The MTF is an annual survey of nearly 47,000 8th, 10th and 12th graders nationwide. More information is available at http://www.nida.nih.gov/newsroom/11/NR12-14.html. In response to the cancer reference – it is true that several studies have been conducted where they did not find a significant link between marijuana and cancer – but it has not been “proven to be wrong.” Some studies have shown a potential link, others have not. It is a very complex issue and more research is definitely needed.

If people want to do drugs its their own decision, sure drugs can be harmful, but so is everything else in life? Saying that teens do drugs to "impress" is like saying people wear clothes to look popular. People do things for many reasons and no one actually has a right to say someone shouldn't do something. You're not the one doing it so stay out of it. Simple as. Also as a teen ive seen many people do drugs including myself, infact the smartest people at my school do weed and other such drugs. It hasn't seemed to effect them yet, they just use it as a sort of way to wind down. As much as you all say you care, your opinion doesn't mean much to a teenager, sorry.

Well I can't speak for everybody, but as a high school senior in AP Lit and AP Eco along with remedial algebra and regular physics in a pretty ethnically diverse high school of somewhat lower income that I'm not going to state the name of for obvious reasons I can vouch that drugs have crossed into every subculture, ethnicity, and background. I myself did not try drugs at first because of others, instead I wished to see how my own body reacts to certain substances, however I cannot say I am normal. I did try marijuana and am now a daily user because I saw others do it, and to fit in with friends. Most people know me as the kid that was coked out in 4th period. Or that kid who shot up smack during a lecture. So it is safe to say that I've done my fair share of drugs. I have done methamphetamines, amps, weed, heroin, crack, cocaine, alcohol, spice, ecstasy, piperazine, robbitussin, CCC, opium, air freshener, nos, whippits, air compressor, acid, shrooms, vallium, mescaline, DMT, GHB, salvia, oxycontin, adderal, and some pain relievers from when I had my wisdom teeth removed. Some would say a drug addict with this list is simply trying to impress friends, however no one other than me and I suppose others reading this comment know about most of these drugs that I have done. It was (for me at least) a personal journey. As I have said I am a daily toker, weekend piperazine popper, and a social coke snorter. However my favorite of all drugs is MDMA ecstasy, and I would quit everything for it. My pill count is 286 over a span of less than a year (my first drug was air freshener in 11th grade) unfortuanetly due to complications it is no longer available to me so I smoke. Anyways to get to my point, personally I regret not waiting till my education was over before trying drugs, as my grades did slip below a 3.0 average due to my increased drug habit. ....so yeah, those were my two cents.

@just a kid Thank you for sharing your story. If/when you feel like reaching out for treatment, you can find a facility near you by calling 1-800-662-HELP or visiting http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov.

Oh and I suppose to add to the discussion, at my high school the predominant drugs (I am aware of others using) are alcohol, marijuana (many smoke it in the bathrooms other buy THC pills), and cocaine. I am not sure if cigarettes habits are that high as I have my studies to focus on, rather than others' consumption of drugs.

if "all" drugs are bad explain to me why caffeine is legal, yet studies show caffeine can be detrimental in large amounts just like any drug. and 2nd marijuana is a plant not a drug, THC and CBD are the active compounds in marijuana and are proven to be therapeutic if used the right way. as a highschool student i'm embarresed to say i'm from america where people don't know the difference between right and write...
btw i'm in high school and i see no real harmful effect of using marijuana in limited amounts but if it was legalized and regulated it would be a great source of income and also would reduce crime rates and finally stop the growing problem of over-crowded jails.

@420reasonswhy “All” drugs are not bad, agreed, and the compounds in marijuana can be therapeutic if used in the right way. However, just because a drug is also a plant doesn’t make it harmless (opium, for example).

I personally think that teens "abusing" (as the government now calls it to make it sound like the most horrific sin possible) drugs, can some times be a good thing. i know this because i am a 14 year old high school student, and believe me when i say this, drugs are probably the reason im still alive. before i started experimenting with drugs, i was having a HARD time dealing with life. i was stressed, moody, and when i couldn't deal with it any more. i wanted to end it all. that day could have very well been my last day on earth. but insted, it was the first time i tryed smoking weed, and it changed my whole perspective on life. i felt happy for the first time in months, all my stress melted away, it felt amazing. from that day on i knew what i wanted, to be happy, and not just the drugs made me happy, what i was doing in my life made me happy, i realized that i was in a totally wrong place in life. i was trying to be cool with friends who hated and bullied me constantly, loving girls that would never love me back and doing things i didnt like. so i left it all. i stoped talking to the friends i hated, the girls that played with my emotions and got all new friends, a whole different life style and ya know what? i like it. its the best way i think i can live my life, im finally happy.

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@SWED Interesting. So marijuana may have given you the courage to make those changes – but if you’d had someone to talk to, then maybe you could have made those changes as well. Drugs usually end up causing more problems than they solve. So, please, instead of suggesting that others try drugs to feel better, suggest that they talk with someone or get active with something that makes them happy, instead of relying on illegal drugs.

also there was a study in britian just released of over 120,000 people of whom did and did not smoke weed, and the trend was that people who smoked weed did just as well or better than the people who did not.
people should really focus on more important problems like political tensions or starving children in third world countries, more than silly problems that are truely trivial. if you want to hurt yourself by using drugs go for it why stick your head in other people's buisness

@420reasonswhy Sadly, school performance is not the only problem that comes with consuming marijuana. Driving under the influence and impaired judgment that can lead to risky sexual behavior (and possibly disease) are just some of the negative effects that research shows are associated with marijuana. You can find research on marijuana on NIDA’s Marijuana webpage http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/marijuana

I'm not going to deny that drugs are bad. There are no good drugs. But giving lectures about how bad it is for your body isn't going to stop anyone. I'm a 15 year old freshman in high school, I'm in a magnet program, I get good grades, I get along with everybody, I listen to my parents, I do my homework, yet I have marijuana, speed, dxm, oxy, alcohol, and tabacco. I've been told since 3rd grade by teachers, media, and my parents to never do drugs, but here I am. The real key, if you chose to do drugs, is moderation. If I showed up to school every day robo tripping my lady [expletive deleted, per guidelines] off, I'd be totally [expletive deleted, per guidelines]. But taking a non-lethal amount of a "soft" drug on a weekend in a safe environment with friends, you won't be [expletive deleted, per guidelines] up your life.

Drugs are like sex in the sense that if your teenager wants to do it, they're going to find a way to do it. They'll find a way to get it, and there are more than enough drugs that don't get detected in a drug test. The best thing you can do is just educate them on its dangers and hope they make the right choices.

@some random 15 year old To educate yourself, visit http://teens.drugabuse.gov/facts/index.php.

Morphine

You have to choice to do it or not..... Drugs is not good for our lives, it's funbut you never know what going to happen next.

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