En español
NIDA

Menu

Principles of Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Research-Based Guide

What drugs are most frequently used by adolescents?

Most Commonly Abused Drugs by High School Seniors (Other than Tobacco and Alcohol) This bar graph indicates that, over the past year, 36.4 percent of high school seniors abused marijuana, 8.7 percent abused amphetamines, 7.9 percent abused synthetic marijuana, 7.1 abused prescription painkillers, 5 percent abused cough medicine, 4.8 percent abused sedatives, 4.6 percent abused tranquilizers, 4.5 percent abused hallucinogens, 4 percent abused MDMA (Ecstasy), and 3.4 percent abused salvia. Among amphetamines, the most used drug is Adderall. For prescription painkillers, the most used drugs are Vicodin (5.3 percent) and OxyContin (3.6 percent). The data are from Monitoring the Future.AThe top drug used in this category is Adderall (7.4%)
*The top drugs used in this category are Vicodin (5.3%) and OxyContin (3.6%)
Source: Monitoring the Future National Results on Adolescent Drug Use: Summary of Key Findings, 2013.

Alcohol and tobacco are the drugs most commonly abused by adolescents, followed by marijuana. The next most popular substances differ between age groups. Young adolescents tend to favor inhalant substances (such as breathing the fumes of household cleaners, glues, or pens; see "The Dangers of Inhalants"), whereas older teens are more likely to use synthetic marijuana (“K2” or “Spice”) and prescription medications—particularly opioid pain relievers like Vicodin® and stimulants like Adderall®. In fact, the Monitoring the Future survey of adolescent drug use and attitudes shows that prescription and over-the-counter medications account for a majority of the drugs most commonly abused by high-school seniors.

This page was last updated January 2014

What drugs are most frequently used by adolescents?

Contents

Ordering Publications

Call 1-877-643-2644 or:
NIDA Drug Pubs

Cite this article

AP style citation

National Institute on Drug Abuse (2014). What drugs are most frequently used by adolescents?. In Principles of Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Research-Based Guide. Retrieved from http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-adolescent-substance-use-disorder-treatment-research-based-guide/frequently-asked-questions/what-drugs-are-most-frequently-used-by-adolescents

press ctrl+c to copy