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Drugs & Health Blog

Real Teens Ask: Do Many Kids in High School Do Drugs?

This blog post is archived and is no longer being updated. For the latest content, please visit the main Drugs & Health Blog page.
Sara Bellum

Questions about drugs? Lots of teens are asking. That's why each year NIDA scientists spend a day chatting online with high school students and answering their questions.

At our last Drug Facts Chat Day, Livelaughlove94 asked:

"Do many kids in high school do drugs?"

The best way to find out if high school kids do drugs is to ask them. That's exactly what NIDA does every year in its annual Monitoring the Future Study.

This survey of more than 46,000 teens—8th, 10th, and 12th graders to be exact—showed that only about 3 percent, or 3 in 100 teens, have used cocaine or Ecstasy in the last year, and only about 1 in 100 used methamphetamine. That's not a lot.

Teens also said they were smoking a lot less now than teens used to smoke in the '90s—like 3x less if you're a 10th grader. So, what is the most commonly used illegal drug? Marijuana. About a quarter of 10th graders say they have tried it in the past year. You can see the numbers for each major drug type in this report (PDF, 971.57KB).

So, to answer your question, not that many kids in high school do drugs, although marijuana is the most common. So even though it may seem like "everyone's doing it," know that not everyone really is.

For more details on specific results from the Monitoring the Future Study, feel free to browse an overview of the results.


Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


It not like the days when i went to school that's for sure. The kids are totally different and more wild i work at a [commercial link removed, per guidelines] and unfortuanately i see to many young go before their time because of drugs.

its true

more than 25% have tried marijwana im actually at the poin were i only know two people above the age who havent smoke weed and thats my parents

They be using that stuff...... they mus really like it is probaly addictve.

People who use this stuff are stupit unlike me.

i just think kids shouldnt be doing drugs at all and if they are susspected of doing drugs they should be drug tested and not just them every one in the school even if they are inicent or not

Yes i agree that drugs is a big thing in school.

drug are for bougas [expletive deleted, per guidelines] people

i think drug are bad and i dont weent to get nerh them and i had a bff doing that i will help them and i like the way you guys say stuff [misspelled word corrected for context]

I do not do drugs(I did try marijuana once but didn't like it), and I must say that this information is very inaccurate. I know this comment will likely be removed, but take it from someone who graduated from high school 2 years ago. No national survey will be completely unbiased. About 60% will try marijuana, about 30% are active users. About 5-10% will try some type of hallucinogen and about 70-80% drink. About 1% will try some sort of hard drug(coke, opiates, meth, pcp, speed).

Like I said, I know this won't last long, but the government likes to misinform you and they only pick stats that will make it look like teens don't do drugs. I highly advise against drug, because A LOT of people try them, and it is just a waste of money.

@Colin You are correct, it is impossible to achieve 100% reliability in any survey, but the Monitoring the Future Survey, where these data came from, is highly respected. The researchers at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor have been conducting this survey every year since 1975. Overall, 46,733 students from 400 public and private schools in the 8th, 10th, and 12th grades participated in this year's survey. While the results may not match the use in your school, they do provide a reliable indicator of nationwide trends over the past 36 years. To find out more about the MTF survey, visit

I Googled percentage of teens who don't do drugs, and I found this. I agree with Colin and NID. A lot of teens will do drugs befote they graduate. I have managed to avoid them, but since I can sometimes be a pushover, I'm not abselutely sure that I will graduate with at least trying an illegal drug. I really want to die knowing that the only drug I've taken is alcohol, and with that, only moderately.I don't give a (expletive) about the reports saying that smoking marijuana can stop obesity and freakin' higher your IQ. I want to be someone who will look back and say in a cheesy fashion, "Ha! While you suckers polluted your body with all sorts of crap, I'm all clean and pure and stuff. Suck it!" I want to be able to laugh at them, you know? Because they laughed at me when I told them I don't drink or do pot.It seems as if everyone is doing it, and now the statistics are very close. So we've got to get more people to realize that we're just not being corny, having-fun-is-bad, boring type people.I guess I'm not going anywhere with this. Bye.

@Bonanza It's true, not everyone is taking drugs. It is wonderful that you continue to stand up for what you believe. Don’t be a “pushover.” BTW, marijuana actually can cause memory impairment and difficulty thinking and solving problems. It also increases your appetite – in fact, it has been used to prevent weight loss in patients with AIDS!

marijuana isnt addictive. it actually heals your some research. Legalize it.

Heals? Wow. All NIDA does is support research, no policy, fyi.

@Claire Danvers.

i do agree that it is not very smart to do drugs, but not everyone that does drugs are stupid.
there are many types of drugs also. Prescriptions for example. Prescription drugs are good for you while street drugs are not. There are good drugs and bad drugs, but it is always smarter to take the good (PRESCRIBED BY A DOCTOR) drugs instead of a street drug.

What you say is mostly true – just one thing—prescription drugs CAN be dangerous if not taken as PRESCRIBED BY YOUR DOCTOR, or if shared among friends. Then they can be just as bad as, or worse than, heroin or cocaine. Thanks for your comment.

The most easy way to find your kid might do drugs is to use test strip in urine. cheap and good!
[commercial link removed, per guidelines]

There is a drug problem -- there really is. It's worse than everyone thinks. I feel that most teens WILL use at least one drug illicitly before they graduate. Honestly, there isn't any way to stop it.

you all are so stupid. Marijuana is NOT ADDICTIVE, poses NO HEALTH THREAT, and EVEN CURES THE SYMPTOMS OF CANCER. Just make Marijuana legal already; keep the hard drugs illegal, and everything will be fine and dandy. Quit crying about the ONLY THING THAT KEEPS PEOPLE SANE and just accept the fact that it's not harmful and the reason your kids are smoking pot and not doing their homework in the first place is because you probably don't give a s*** anyways. Harder ADDICTIVE drugs like Crystal and Cocaine are life-threatening and should be treated as such and stay illegal; however, there is not 1 documented case of a death regarding the use of STRICTLY marijuana- Marijuana+Tobacco deaths are recorded- but NOT ONE CASE has been documented regarding the death of ANYONE being traced back to the use of Cannabis. Get your facts straight. ---[name removed, per guidelines]

@GZ This is a blog for teens.  Marijuana-related risks are worse for teens.  Among those who start smoking pot regularly as teens, more become addicted—1 in 6, according to research. Young people also risk consequences related to driving high or with friends who are, not doing as well in school, and getting involved with our criminal justice system—all of which can alter a young person’s chances in life and affect their ability to reach their potential.

I think there are some kids who do drugs in high school but not all