Prevalence of Teen Drug and Alcohol Use

The Majority of Teens Don't Do Drugs

Teens Drinking Water
Most Teens Don't Do Drugs. © Getty Images

One reason teens decide to start smoking marijuana, doing other drugs or drinking alcohol is because they think that "everyone" is doing it. They get the impression that the majority of their peers are getting high one way or another and draw the conclusion that it must, therefore, be OK.

If most of the people that you hang out with, or those you know or who live in your neighborhood are doing drugs or alcohol, it's easy to think that a majority of "everyone" is doing the same thing.

But statistics do not back up that claim.

Most Teens Are Not Getting High

The fact is, most students go all the way through high school without ever doing drugs or getting drunk or even smoking cigarettes for that matter. The annual Monitoring the Future nationwide survey of thousands of 12th graders asks seniors about their substance use during their lifetime.

If you think that "everyone" is getting high, consider these facts about 12th graders in 2009:

Learn to Make Your Own Choices

Given the above statistics, if you are hanging out with a group in which the majority is getting high, you may want to think about making some new friends.

You may be headed toward substance abuse problems if you continue to hang around others who routinely drink alcohol, smoke marijuana, abuse prescription drugs or use illegal drugs.

You have choices. You don't have to go along to get along. You don't have to give in to peer pressure. Like the real majority of people your age, you can make safe and healthy choices in your best interest.

More Information: Myths About Teen Prescription Drug Abuse


Johnston, L. D., et. al. "Trends in Lifetime Prevalence of Use of Various Drugs in Grades 8, 10, and 12." University of Michigan News Service. (December 14, 2009).

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