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Teen Drug Abuse Statistics

Teen drug use is a reality in most schools. Alcohol is by far the greatest drug in use among high school students. Marijuana is the next most commonly used drug among teens. Even though most teens do not use drugs every day, the truth is that most teens have had some experience with drugs at least one point in their lives. And, in the case of alcohol, nearly every teen has tried it.

High school seniors and teen drug use:

According to a survey, teens in high school admitted to using drugs or alcohol in the past 30 days:

  • Alcohol: 48%
  • Marijuana: 19.9%
  • Stimulants: 4.6%
  • Other opiates: 4.3%
  • Tranquilizers: 3.1%
  • Sedatives: 2.9%
  • Hallucinogens: 1.9%
  • Cocaine: 2.3%
  • Inhalants: 1.5%
  • Steroids: 1.6%
  • Heroin: 0.5%

The numbers change, however, when teen drug use is expanded to include usage over the past year:

  • Alcohol: 70.6%
  • Marijuana: 34.3%
  • Stimulants-Uppers: 10%
  • Other opiates: 9.5%
  • Tranquilizers: 7.3%
  • Sedatives: 6.5%
  • Hallucinogens: 6.2%
  • Cocaine: 5.3%
  • Inhalants: 4.2%
  • Steroids: 2.5%
  • Heroin: 0.9%

“Hard” drugs

Teen use of “hard” drug has been declining and use levels are much lower than they were in the 1960s and 1970s. Indeed, only 8.1% of high school seniors report that they have ever used cocaine, and only 1.5% report any use of heroin. The use of hallucinogens and most opiates is also lower. It is marijuana that causes the greatest amount of concern regarding teen drug use.

Teen drug use: Marijuana

Marijuana use has increased since 1992. The past-month use has dramatically increased among teenagers of all ages:

  • High school seniors: from 12% in 1992 to 20%
  • 10th graders: from 8% in 1992 to 16%
  • 8th graders: from 4% in 1992 to 6%

Indeed, almost half (45.7%) of high school seniors report that they have used marijuana at some point during their teenage years.

Availability of drugs to teenagers

Even among teens that do not use drugs, it is acknowledged that they are fairly easy to come by. 29% of teens in grades 9 through 12 report that illegal drugs were made available to them on school property. Not only that, 38.4% of teens in public schools report that drugs are readily available (as opposed to 22.4% at private schools). Teens in upper grades report greater access to drugs than do teenagers in lower grades. 62.9% of teens report that street gangs are selling the drugs.

Here are the rates, reported by teens, as to which drugs they knew how to obtain easily:

  • Marijuana: 85.8%
  • Amphetamines: 55.4%
  • Cocaine: 47.8%
  • Barbiturates: 46.3%
  • Crack: 39.2%
  • LSD: 33.1%
  • Tranquilizers: 30.1%
  • Heroin: 29.6%
  • Crystal meth: 26.7%
  • PCP: 24.2%

Even if teens do not use drugs, it is clear that they are readily available. It is also clear that teen drug use, while declining in some areas, marijuana use is rising.

Raising teenagers is a hard job. Let ANY LAB TEST NOW® make it easy for you to Trust, But Verify.

Sources: “Drug Use: Youth,” Bureau of Justice Statistics. U.S. Department of Justice.