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Talking With Teens About Illegal Drugs

Illegal drugs can have a devastating impact on a young person, a family, and a community, as has been seen with crack users and meth users. Among teens, other than alcohol and tobacco, the most common drug used is marijuana, which about one-third of high school seniors said they had used in the past year. Use of other illegal drugs (such as cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy) is much less common. However, about one in five 12th graders has tried an illegal drug other than marijuana.1 Like with alcohol and tobacco use, young people are much less likely to ever use illegal drugs if they abstain from using drugs when they are teenagers.


1 Johnston, L. D., O’Malley, P. M., Miech, R. A., Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. E. (2016). Monitoring the Future national results on adolescent drug use, 1975-2015: Overview, key findings on adolescent drug use. Ann Arbor, MI: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan. Retrieved from http://www.monitoringthefuture.org/pubs/monographs/mtf-overview2015.pdf
Content created by Office of Adolescent Health
Content last reviewed on July 2, 2019