drug facts for teenagers

10 Statistics On Teen Drug and Alcohol Use

Published on: September 28, 2019   |   Last updated on:

Teen Drug Statistics Are Often Misunderstood by Teens Themselves.

Here are 10 statistics about teen drug abuse – updated May 2024.

  1. 73% of 10th graders have never used illicit drugs in their lifetime. [1]
  2. Youth who start drinking before age 15 are 7 times more likely to develop alcohol use disorders as adults than those who wait until after age 18. Early initiation of drinking is associated with the development of an alcohol use disorder later in life. Addiction is more likely to start in the teen years and that’s why delayed first-time use is so important. [2]
  3. 93% of 8th graders have not vaped nicotine in the last 30 days. [3]
  4. Most high school seniors (94%) don’t use marijuana regularly. [4]
  5. Only 14% of 10th graders have been drunk in the last month. [5]
  6. More than 107,000 Americans died of an overdose in 2023 fueled by illicit fentanyl. [6]
  7. After first trying cannabis or misusing prescription drugs, the percentages of young people who develop the corresponding substance use disorder are higher among adolescents (ages 12-17) than young adults (ages 18-25). [7]
  8. Underage drinking contributes to the 3 leading causes of death (unintentional injury, homicide, and suicide) among persons aged 12 to 20 years. [8]
  9. Early-onset of regular marijuana use among adolescents is linked to a decline in IQ and is associated with educational dropout. [9]
  10. The DEA seized more than 79.5 million fake pills in 2023 and found that more than 7 in 10 pills were laced with the fentanyl. [10]


Teens who consistently learn about the risks of drugs from their parents are up to 50% less likely to use drugs than those who don’t.[11] 

There’s a chance that even with all the education and support you offer them, a kid may try drugs or alcohol.

teen substance abuse statistics

One of the keys is to delay that first-time use for as long as possible.

9 out of 10 people with addiction started in their teen years. Research shows the average age of first-time use of drugs is 13-14. If first-time use is delayed by 12-24 months, the likelihood of addiction drops dramatically. [12] 

Youth are 6.5 times more likely to become addicted if they try drugs before age 21. [13] 

Start your conversation with the tween or teen in your life. We’ve got 8 conversation starters you can help with your conversations here.

Get to know these important teen drug abuse statistics, set your teen up for a life addiction-free, and access our resources for free now!

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Related article: Facts on Teen Drug and Alcohol Abuse in America

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