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.

To find out what other teens are asking about, search the Chat Day transcript for a topic that interests you. 

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.


thanks you for the information that relly help

tkz 4 the 411 more children need to be more educated on drug abuse and the dangers of drugs like the most common 1........methanphetamine.some kids do drugs & dont kno it like pop rocks. so, keep up the great work.

Q: has weed ever killed someone
A:no it has not.
just try to prove me wrong

i believe tht doing drugs is wrong and if your 12 you should know better than tht!!!

im doing a report on my teens do drugs and the stuff that the tell me is reall dissapointing

where are people most likely to stat using drugs

@Ricksta That’s a good question - without a good answer. It depends on the person – most people are introduced to drugs by people they know. The “where” could be a party, a friend’s house, or just about anywhere people hang out.

We encouraged our son to attend school parties that he had refused to go to for the first couple years of Middle School. Ironically, as soon as he went to his first party, he was introduced to marijuana and tried it. We had no idea because the "game" is to have a sleep over at someone's house after a party, (usually at the home of an extremely clueless parental unit.) By the time we figured out what was going on, his grades had plummetted, his friends were not the same and he was on Facebook constantly when he said he was doing homework. For parents I say, remove the computer from your child's room, take the phone and put it in a drawer when they go to bed, and don't think you're child is above it all. Vigilence is the key. No matter how loud the protestations or the guilt. Be their parent first. It's a very tough time as teens try to figure out where they fit in and the sands are shifting below their feet constantly. Have plans for your weekends, get your child involved in a structured sport activity that requires attending practices and keeping one's grades up. Eventually, they can stand on their own two feet. But don't EVER think your child is handling things well just because you believe you've given them the tools to think. They will often disappoint you. If that happens, just remember to tell your child first and foremost that you love them no matter what. (You will be angry and it's hard not to be, but it's still about guiding your child through some very tough and challenging times.) You won't be able to see your child as the innocent person you thought they were. But, maybe it's better to know that your child is growing up, and they need you in a different way now. If you can, stay strong on maintaining control while your child is at home, because they will still have ample opportunity to stumble when they are back at school with friends. Lastly, do not tell your child that you read something on Facebook or Twitter or FormSpring. If you do, they will find other means to communicate. Btw, contact your cell phone provider and use the parental features whereby you can set the hours for sending and receiving text messages on your child's phone. Sure, it's time consuming, and often frustrating. But, I'll guarantee you that you'll be glad you took the time to do it. The first time your child discovers and complains is the first sign that you did the right thing by imposing the texting schedule in the first place. I strongly recommend taking the time to set up the hours when texting is allowed, and when it's not. We set television watching parameters, but are overlooking the fact that the same structure is needed to keep young teens from getting involved in unnecessary drama that involves texting and posting on whatever social media is in vogue in your area at all hours of the night, and when you think they are doing their homework.

Thank you for this. I hope your son is doing better now.

kiddding lots of help! i did some researh and found out that even some cats are doing drugs now. it's horrible

@soemone where the heck do you get your information! carazy

Im 12 i think im already addicted it started on the bus with my friend ahe offered me vodka i said sure i LOVED the feel of it the we tried budweiser ehh it was ok i like vadka now shes bringing in some drug pills and the hard drugs cocaine im no longer addicted but im afraid shell one day end up dead i love that girl like a sister i wanna help her but idk how now shes selling drugs all around the school and were just in 6th grade

y0l0. i think i might be addicted to cocaine and marijuana. i'm only 14 and i don't want to be addicted. i want to live a nice life with a family and such! [personal info deleted, per guidelines]

I tried one when I was six years old but I had it one time. Since then I had never had another ever again plus if did had one my family will take away my pet snake. [name deleted, per guidelines]

i am 16 and 3 years ago i was addicted to meth i was in and out of rehabe mostly cuz i diden beleve i had a problum but when i was about 15 irelized i had a big problum cuz my brother found it and told me he was gonna tell mom and i got mad and tried to push him out the window after that i realized i needed help so i got it thank you to the people at my rehab center thanks to you ill never do drugs agin

Im 14. There first time I ever smoked i was 12. it started as just cigarettes. When i was 13 i tired marijuana. It didnt do anything for me there first time. so one day i was with people and the asked if i wanted any so i thought since it didnt do anything the first it wont this time. well it did. and turns out it was laced with meth. my momther doesnt know it was laced but she is aware if smoked pot before. I have smoked pot since then. and i dont let it take me over. it takes a way the stress. and i know your thinking your 14. What do you have to be stressed about? but i am. i deal with alot. but im a aunt to 9 kids. it makes me wonder doing this is going to act like a free pass for them to do it when they get older. so thats the day i decided to get clean. im almost 7 months sober.(:
i hope this helps anyone. its not "cool" in anyway. i promise it can cause so many problems in life. stop while your young!

good morning delightful life span website

“How Old Are Kids Who Start Using Drugs?” was a fantastic posting, cannot wait to look
over far more of ur postings. Time to spend some time on the internet haha.

Thank you ,Kristie
[link removed, per guidelines]

i have never used any drug but so much of my friends do crystal myth and marijuana but i dont know how to helpo them can u tell me wat i can do
doing drugs is a bad thing for you it will be on your record
doing drugs is a bad thing for you it will be on your record
drugs got me far away from my family now i don't get to seee my baby sisters till God knows when. i get scared every now and then and i don't like that it just makes me feel stupid.
drugs are bhad!!!
My question is: where are these studies? I'd like to see the facts and hard results of testing before subjugating myself to such broad and debatable answer. Obviously, over longed exposure to anything will make you grow attached to it; and/or exposure on a regular basis becomes a Norm. Ie) A child to their Teddy, or a child in an environment where their caretaker is an avid smoker.

Psych Student, please check out Drug, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction.  It explains that addiction is a brain disease and how your age might influence your vulnerability to the disease.  

If you do durgs you might as well say goodbye to your life cause it will all be wasted and you wont have any friends because you look diffferent and your family will send you to treatment centers I should know this all happend to my sister Brittany. She was 12 when she started right after my grandpa died she was so deperssed that she could never get over it then she started doing drugs and now she quit cause she got the help she needed by a treatment center.
Don't ever do drugs because there are gonna be bad consequences and your life is not gonna turn out so we'll as you think. Drugs are bad why do you think there's a phrase that saids BE SMART DONT START!!!!! Listen to it.
This thread should really be moderated, there is a lot of false information on here and I'd hate to think that a concerned youth or someone curious about drugs comes to this site and has nightmares about the terrors of marijuana. I am currently writing a review of the current drug education system and I just had to take some time out to address a few issues here. 1. Marijuana, when used in excessive quantities, has been found to result in (primarily) psychology and social complications such as amplified paranoia and anxiety. However, when compared to the adverse effects of cigarettes and alcohol these complications are dwarfed. I used to smoke marijuana, I stopped (because marijuana is not an addictive substance like cigarettes and alcohol are) and I am a fully functioning member of society, I have a positive love life, a pool of close friends, and remain a productive person in general which leads to my second point. 2. Carefully experimenting with drugs will not ruin your life, in a controlled environment experimenting with drugs is a good way to understand their effects. The people who are spouting that one drag of a joint is a death sentence should keep their propaganda to themselves, people do not think outside of their boxes, imagine if a young person came to this website after trying marijuana. They come here concerned about what they have done and read a ream of nonsense telling them they have ruined their life. If this is you do not listen to these people, you have not ruined your life, in fact most young drug users simply age out of drugs (visit the website Drug Scope for more information). 3. Sara Bellum? I can't decide whether the original post author has parents with an odd sense of humour or that it is a tasteless alias, if it is the latter you are a very crude person for identifying yourself as some internet brain.
i started doing drugs last year, at age 13 and im still doing it. i guess that the thing that made me start was everyone telling me not to start. things are very tempting when someone says not to try it; a lot more tempting than when nobody tells you anything. but yeah, one thing is for sure, once you start, its hard to stop unless you have good mental strength. and i personally believe that kids are doing drugs earlier and earlier each year so....yeah just saying, and yeah, peer pressure does have an affect on the play of it all, but mainly it also just relies on your mind and how well you can control it, and on if you truly know what you want to do with your life. ive started drugs and i honestly dont know if i want to stop...cuz yeah, i admit, its kinda fun, but hell yeah, it can ruin your life.....just whatever happens, dont smoke cigarette. waste of time and money.
Who cares if somebody does drugs it's your life and you only live once.and if you do do drugs make it worth it have fun with it then you have an epic story to tell the end. YOLO IT
Drugs are bad, mmkay?
I hate drugs
I am 12to and I need help on a progect
Well I somke marijuana
I lov drugs an do all th Tim they don hort me and I am jus fine I do shrooms lad pot meth
I use drugs seens I am in a tummy of my mother,and smooking inside,,,,,,,,,but in real life I really hate drugs,,,,cause I never use drugs anymore,,,,
Drugs aren't something you just start doing because you feel like doing them, for some its escape from personal problems, depressions, or just hanging out with your friends that do drugs and you just want to try!! (Just an FYI)
To those who think taking drugs are OK - they're not. Just because 'it hasn't affected you' doesn't mean it WON'T affect someone else. Drugs ruin everything for you; and even if you miraculously stop taking drugs, it's not easy to get back up. Tell me, is it worth your family, friends, job, future/current spouse, children and your youth? Even if we legalise it, and test the drug for extra bits of poison, it doesn't stop the side effects you still will get even if you take one at its purest form. Drugs aren't for recreational use, it's for threatening lives. Even medications, you still have to be careful. Education is a must!
What are consequences specific to teens using magic mushrooms?

Mushrooms are considered hallucinogens. Hallucinogens distort the way a user perceives time, motion, colors, sounds, and self. These drugs can disrupt a person’s ability to think and communicate rationally, or even to recognize reality, sometimes resulting in bizarre or dangerous behavior.

If you want to use drugs go ahead, but keep in mind that they will eventually destroy your life. This new generation of young people do not care. Unfortunately they will learn the hard way. Addiction is a major problem in the US. As a parent I talked to both of my children when they were young about alcohol and drug use. Neither one of my children have any desire and they are now 22 and 18. As a parent you must educate your children early and keep talking about it.
Hi, I go to a small school with a lot of drug users, and I am researching this topic. I mean the people at my school are practically stoned every day, even the middle schoolers. The drug problem in my school is terrible; even the bathrooms smell like drugs. I don't understand it, most of the people doing drugs are smart. But anyways, my questions is if Juul is a drug or just a cigarette and if it is even legal for a 12-year-old to be doing drugs and have sex? I am also wondering why the government or police have not at least made a real effort to stop this drug problem because it is self-evident as even teachers know it. Another thing is that the drugs are concealed in an ordinary object so how can you tell the difference if you were ever cornered or pinned?

Wow, it sounds like you’ve really given this some thought! You asked some great questions about a very complicated topic. While we can’t answer all of your questions, we can tell you that juul is a vaporizer that contains a chemical called nicotine. It’s not a cigarette. And no, it’s not legal for a 12-year-old to be using drugs illegally (It’s not legal for anyone to use illegal drugs!). If you need more answers, please find a trusted adult to talk to, maybe someone in your family or a teacher or coach at school.

can u guys tell me what the youngest age that a kid did drugs because i'm doing an assignment for plz reply

Kids can start doing drugs at a very young age, and this is very dangerous. We don’t have specific data for the youngest age a kid did drugs, but you might find our information on drug overdoses in youth helpful for your assignment. Check it out at https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/drug-overdoses-youth.


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