Thursday September 20th 2018

You're leaving and will be automatically redirected to

Go back to

How many teens use drugs?

Whether you’re in high school looking to finish a report or a parent looking for answer, you’ve found the right spot.  How many teens use drugs varies by year, and you’ll need to access the most up-to-date statistics for answers.  Here, we review the top websites where you can find stats on how many teens use drugs, and have a section at the end for your questions.

And if you find yourself thinking, “Can I drug test my teen?”, you are not alone.  Interventions for teenage drug use can help you open a discussion with your teen, either formally or informally.  Just know that we support parents and loved ones of teens who may have drug problems.  Your comments are welcomed below.

Where are we now?

Illegal drug use among teens is declining, according to ADASK, Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Statistics, Trends, and Costs. Unfortunately, teen prescription drug use, specifically pain-killers, is increasing. Many teenagers are under the false belief that prescription pain-killers are safe. On the contrary, they are highly addictive and can cause severe physical and emotional side effects. In fact, more teens die from prescription drugs than heroin and cocaine combined (even though heroin and teens are of concern).

While a decline is happening among illegal drug use, that decline is slight, and parents need to stay aware of the dangers. A report by SAMHSA, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, reveals that on an average day more than 4,300 teens use an illicit drug for the first time.

Here are a few more statistics:

  • 20% of 8th graders report that they have tried marijuana.
  • 28% of teens know a classmate or friend who has used ecstasy.
  • More than 60% of teens said that drugs are sold, used, or kept at their school.
  • Approximately 15% of 10th to 12th graders have used amphetamines.
  • An estimated 1.8 million kids age twelve to eighteen are current users of Cocaine.
  • 1 in 9 high school seniors have tried Spice/K2 (synthetic marijuana).
  • 1.3 % of seniors have used bath salts.
  • About 64 % of teens who have abused prescription pain killers say they got them from friends or relatives.
  • In 2012, 15 % of high school seniors used prescription drugs.

Teens whose parents talk to them regularly about the dangers of drugs are 42% less likely to use drugs than those whose parents don’t. However, only a quarter of teens report having these conversations.

Some common reasons teens use drugs are:

1) To be liked by their peers or to fit in.

2) To escape difficult situations.

3) Because it looks or sounds like fun.

4) Because someone they know or love is using drugs, so the behavior is being modeled to them.

Find teen drug use stats: Top 3 websites

CDC Fast Stats

SAMHSA Data, Outcomes, and Quality

Baldwin Rsearch

Don’t make the mistake of believing your teen doesn’t need your guidance! Talk openly with your kids about the dangers of drugs. Building and keeping a strong relationship and open communication is a huge factor in how they will handle their teen years. You may have some fears or reservations about discussing drugs with your teen, but the threat of these substances is too great to ignore.

Reference Sources: National Institute on Drug Abuse

Photo credit: Horia Varlan

Leave a Reply

2 Responses to “How many teens use drugs?
5:22 pm July 13th, 2015

Those little surveys that they give in school to see how many people do drugs is treated as a joke. When i was in 6th grade me and my friends all put that we smoked weed meth pcp bath salts and anything we could. None of these statistics will ever be accurate when you ask kids in school if they have done something illegal even if it’s at anonymous

5:21 pm July 14th, 2015

Hi Mike. That may be true to an extent, but many of those numbers are based on the statistics coming from all national treatment centers as numbers of youth that have been admitted to treatment, or from DUI police reports in which drugs were found in teens who juts started driving, ect. Those numbers cannot be ignored.

About Lisa Espich

Lisa Espich is the author of the multi award-winning book, Soaring Above Co-Addiction: Helping your loved one get clean, while creating the life of your dreams. For additional articles, resources, and a free preview chapter of Soaring Above Co-Addiction visit her website. Her book is available at bookstores everywhere and at Twin Feather Publishing.