School Failure

Last Updated: Thursday, April 30, 2020

stressed out student at desk

Research shows that there is a definite link between teen substance abuse and how well you do in school. Teens who abuse drugs have lower grades, a higher rate of absence from school and other activities, and an increased potential for dropping out of school.  

Although we all know or hear stories about people who use drugs and still get great grades, this is not typical. Most people who use drugs regularly don’t consistently do well in school.     

Studies show that marijuana, for example, affects your attention, memory, and ability to learn. Its effects can last for days or weeks after the drug wears off. So, if you are smoking marijuana daily, you are not functioning at your best.

Students who smoke marijuana tend to get lower grades and are more likely to drop out of high school. One recent marijuana study showed that heavy marijuana use in your teen years and continued into adulthood can reduce your IQ up to as much as 8 points.

High school dropout rates have also risen as a result of substance abuse.  

A study of teens in 12th grade (16-18 years of age) who dropped out of school before graduation are more likely than their peers to be users of cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana and other illicit drugs.

Illicit drug use among dropouts was higher than for those in school (31.4 percent vs. 18.2 percent). Dropouts were more likely to be current marijuana users than those in school (27.3 percent vs. 15.3 percent) and non-medical users of prescription drugs (9.5 percent vs. 5.1 percent).  

Teens who smoke, drink alcohol, binge drink or use marijuana or other drugs are more likely than non-users to drop out of school and less likely than non-users to graduate from high school, attend college or obtain a college degree. 

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