Cite this article

NIDA. (2009, October 5). Real Teens Ask: Do Many Kids in High School Do Drugs?. Retrieved from

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Sara Bellum
October 5 2009
A group of kids sitting in a circle

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.