Drug Use Among Kids: Fiction Versus Facts

  1. Fiction #1
  2. Fiction #2
  3. Fiction #3
  4. Fiction #4
  5. Fiction #5
"Everybody does it." Doing drugs is a rite of passage for most teens - just a normal part of growing up. Experimenting is perfectly normal, if not harmless.

Actually, most kids don't use drugs.

The first Monitoring The Future (MTF) survey in 1975 revealed that 55% of young people had used an illicit drug by the time they left high school. That figure rose to 66% in 1981. But according to the 2010 MTF Survey, that percentage is down to 48% - continuing a trend since 1999 of fewer than 50% of high school seniors having used illicit drugs.

The National Institute On Drug Abuse has sponsored a Monitoring The Future (MTF) Survey each year since 1975 to measure drug, alcohol and cigarette use - and related attitudes about their use - among adolescent students nationwide. Survey participants report their drug use behaviors across three time periods: lifetime, past year and past month. For some drugs, daily use is also reported. Initially only high school seniors were surveyed, but sophomores and eighth graders have been included in each survey since 1990.

Because marijuana is much more prevalent than other illicit drugs, the 2010 MTF Survey also includes data excluding marijuana to determine the percentage of students using other, so-called "harder" drugs. In 2010 the percentage of high school seniors who had used these "harder" illicit drugs was 25%.