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New Study: Smart People More Likely to Use Drugs

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I have a feeling they won’t be mentioning this in DARE class.

A new British study finds children with high IQs are more likely to use drugs as adults than people who score low on IQ tests as children. The data come from the 1970 British Cohort Study, which has been following thousands of people over decades. The kids' IQs were tested at the ages of 5, 10 and 16. The study also asked about drug use and looked at education and other socioeconomic factors. Then when participants turned 30, they were asked whether they had used drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and heroin in the past year.

Researchers discovered men with high childhood IQs were up to two times more likely to use illegal drugs than their lower-scoring counterparts. Girls with high IQs were up to three times more likely to use drugs as adults. [CNN]

So much of what we’ve been told about drugs and drug users turns out to be the opposite of the truth, it’s amazing that the anti-drug fanatics are able to find any audience at all anymore. News like this comes as a surprise only if you understand remarkably little about what drugs actually are and why people use them.

It ought to be intuitive that the curiosity which comes along with above-average intelligence would also be correlated with a heightened interest in experiencing altered states of consciousness. No doubt, a little extra brain-power also serves to inoculate against believing a lot of the BS we’re fed about how certain substances will turn your brain into a turnip.

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Conflicting Goals

So this is the deal:  the smartest people are doing drugs and the dumbest people (prohibitionists) want to stop smart people from doing drugs.

How can anyone think this thing called the drug war is going to succeed?  Failure is locked in and there is no escape.  Disaster is so expected it’s almost sad.  Abandon all hope ye who enter here.


Best Summary

Best summary of the War on Drugs ever written, Giordano.

Next stop: monitor the smart people.  After all, there are far more dumb people around, they need something to do, and the Fed can just print money to pay them to track all the smarty-pants who think they are entitled to live by a non-state-sanctioned moral code.

Idiocracy is coming, learn how to act dumb.  My advice, work on your drooling.

And.... Check!

Almost prophetic :) the time is nigh!

Good Summary

The dumb people want to take away the edge that smarter people have it seems. 

Are You SEARIOUS??????

Alright  bro i see that you are first off very ignorant  on such issues at hand. not only are we failing at this so called drug war but we are the ones supplying them and making money with the drugs we are providing in the states and then the money with the bull foundations and so call bust on drug dealers but really, who do you think got the new weed on the block and the new mdma and the new coke and the new ect. yes the government and who ever else is in on it, are arrested the drug dealer with a brick of heroine yes i saw the news but, i like to go deeper and see that the GOVERNMENT IS BRING DRUGS INTO THE U.S.A. AND DOSENT PLAN ON STOPPING SOON!!!!!! that my friend is my final speech!


you fail to make any sense to me at all. do you have any actual facts to back up your claims? as for the OP, i could not agree more

My Good Sir!

I thank you good sir, for being such wonderful evidence for proving the OP's argument.

Such laughter was brought into my life from reading your fine work. While correlation may not equate causation, sometimes one cannot stop but ponder when given such examples.

My Good Sir!

I thank you good sir, for being such wonderful evidence for proving the OP's argument.

Such laughter was brought into my life from reading your fine work. While correlation may not equate causation, sometimes one cannot stop but ponder when given such examples.

lol. just... lol. 

lol. just... lol. 

correlation between high I.Q.'s and drug use

You sir are a paranoid idiot!

You, obviously, will never

You, obviously, will never show up on a "Faces of Meth" billboard. Congrats.

swami_jim's picture

am I a fool?

Well let's see....on 3 Sept. 1999 I was quite like a piece of carrot...University of Kentucky doctors told me I will NeVeR read nor write my own name. So, I am NoT supposed to send you this message. My apology! Now, why? Because of an arteriovenous malformation! A brain aneurism. I not a fool, and granted I have been so very blessed that I'm still here. I don't have a doobie right now, so I'll get one soon enough and I'll ask anybody and find out if pot hurts me! Bring it on! Don't play games with me, one of the after affects of the avm makes me highly allergic to bullshit!

I agree

All we continue to do is go back in circles. There will never be an end to this war. If anything, it will continue to get worse. In the early 2000's "we" predicted that marijuana will be legalized around 2012. Well it's almost 2013 and "we" have accomplished NOTHING. Sad. Now everyone is getting high on bath salts.

I had heard this before from

I had heard this before from a now-forgotten source (maybe 'Psychology Today'...not that I actually read that trash), but thought it only applied to the U.S.

Is it possible that more intelligent people become involved with drugs out of sheer boredom?

I hear this often.  Smart

I hear this often.  Smart people do drugs to combat depression or boredom.

Actually a smart person doesn't ingest psychedelics for either reason, and if they were to, it would not solve their problem.  The actual reasons are: spiritual growth, mental growth, enhanced creativity, social rituals, and things of that nature.  The morons can't understand this and think it's all flowery fag talk, and chalk up any drug use to being equivalent to getting drunk -> "You do it for fun, right?  Why not just be happy with beer?  Durr"

Or perhaps you are dressing

Or perhaps you are dressing it up into something it's not?  You're getting off just like everyone else, don't make it sound it's something different or special for you.  Please, the arrogance.

You are wrong moron!  Smart

You are wrong moron!  Smart people smoke marijuana, for example, for the reasons outlined above: "spiritual growth, mental growth, enhanced creativity, social rituals, and things of that nature."

You left one out

enhanced sensitivity to beauty, in nature, in music, in art, in people, in all things.

its called having your high

its called having your high goggles on. you see things for what they actually are, without the filters of society that pollute our minds.

I absolutely agree. Marijuana

I absolutely agree. Marijuana takes away the edge and confusion of emotional goggles and let's you see the world as it is. I don't see how anyone (healthy both mentally and physically) would venture to try drugs for any reasons other than curiosity and personal growth. 

Marijuana? Nah, it's actually

Marijuana? Nah, it's actually just the boredom. Psychedelics fit that a little more so, also probably why I didn't find them all that interesting after the first time. Not that I wouldn't drop some acid, but I certainly don't seek it out. Don't you know acid is supposed to find you?

couldn't agree more

couldn't agree more


It does always find me.  No matter what I do it follows me.  I moved places, I changed my phone number, I even went so far as to change my name.  But it doesn't matter.  It's always finding me.

A break from being clever

I smoke weed as a break from having to be clever. Doing a maths (yes I'm english thats what we call it) degree is tough and sometimes I need a break from equations and proofs. Weed makes me stupid enough to forget about all that and just relax.

weed doesnt make you dumb,

weed doesnt make you dumb, unless youre already dumb.  getting a math degree has nothing to do with being smart or clever or intelligent.

cognitive function

you do have decreased cognitive function for difficult problems when under the influence of marijuana. it doesn't make u permanently less intelligent ; but under the influence, you are not as smart. You can't think as fast. That's what i think he meant.


smart people & drugs

I was told by my teachers in high school i had an IQ of 150 smart enough for MENSA.... i used psychedelics extensively in high school & college.... It made me think outside the box. .....when i joined the army as a code analyst, the 2 people who had the highest grades were myself and  my friend, both pot smokers who could understand the abstract ways  the codes were made & deciphered... ..the straight people were far behind us in learning the class......Snakeman


Interesting. Nowadays, we have formalized cryptography. Thinking abstractly is just as required as thinking in terms of specific cryptographic/mathematical methods. Im not saying a pothead can't be a cryptographer now, its just that at most top universities, you will need to study all the time, and thinking outside the box isnt necessarily going to get you good grades. I would suspect that currently most people in the army as codebreakers are probably non-smokers, people who study all the time and think inside the box with enough will and academic rigour to be successful.

"...thinking outside the box

"...thinking outside the box isnt necessarily going to get you good grades."

You may be right about school.  But multiple choice and memorization is hardly intelligence.  This is just knowledge.  But thinking outside the box will get you very far in life....

Hey friend, I think you mean

Hey friend, I think you mean that if you are intelligent it is easy to beat a multiple choice questions.  Multiple choice type tests are designed for the weak minded; and are often used because of the overpopulation in the class room -- easier for teachers to grade.

missing the point...

This topic is about intelligence... Although intelligence can help in school, ambition is the the most important and almost the only thing you need for successs.  The post had nothing to do with chemicals helping you become a doctor.  I personally get high before doing math, it helps me concentrate more.  As far as thinking outside the box not helping in school... you obviously havent taken a high math course or have the slightest idea what engineers do.  Sure there are formulas to follow, but they still require problem solving.  I too am a little off topic, a little hypocritical even, lol.  The influences of certain chemicals effect us all differently... there is no one model or situation that can generalize each drug and its limits and advantages.

Relax buddy.  I was speaking

Relax buddy.  I was speaking generally.  Being intelligent is also recognizing the dynamics to a conversation.

Different intelligences

There are different forms of intelligence, and every drug has a different effect on it.  Smoking cannabis may not help cryptographers but it may help a writer.  LSD might help a cryptographer, but would not help the construction worker... and so on.  If we were to base all of our drug laws on what helps a cryptographer get through army+school, we'd be in a sorrier state than we are now.

I agree

I'm on your boat 100%

But it seems like it has succeeded.

The drug was has already succeeded, it's just that it's not succeeded at what most people seem to think it's trying for. I'm unsure of whether it was ever about ending or reducing drug use or abuse.

But it's certainly succeeded at helping a privatized prison industry become wildly successful, at taxpayer expense.

And it's succeeded at creating a boogeyman that politicians and special interests can use to justify damage to civil liberties and outrageous expenses.

It's done a great job of creating issues out of nothing, adding to a culture of fear, and making a bunch of people rich off of human suffering.

Why? What did you think they were trying to accomplish?

well put!

agreed, and phrased much more articulately than I could have!

Just a thought

You bring up some very interesting points here. It is difficult for me not to believe that our government has been iffy from day one. I believe it has always been based around money, and in the end those who are high up could care less what the 'dumber' U.S. population thinks, as long as they continue to get their paycheck. The drug war is one example. People are making money in every aspect of the drug battle, purely at the expense of the every day taxpayer. Just a thought, I am still young and find myself formulating some of my own opinions, thanks for listening/reading! 

green velvet's picture

"mommy's little helper"

It use to be common for maintaining domestic bliss in the 50's and 60's to pop a Valium when the day became a little too untidy or chaotic.  The afternoon martini or glass of wine also "helped" [until mom became an abusive, sloppy drunk!]. I look forward to the day when a little 4:20 sativa is considered as quaint or acceptable.... without the negative side effects or addiction [or expense]! 

"Mom's that grow, know!" ~ [I just made that slogan up]

You are so cool. xDThat's a

You are so cool. xD

That's a nice slogan.

Missing the most used drug (as............. usual).


It starts with an A, it ends with an L and the letters "lcoho" can also be found in this word. If you use too much of it on one evening, the next day it results in something people call a Hangover. Last tips for those who still don't get the message, it has been classified as a hard drug and it's frequently used by all kinds of people, whatever their IQs.

What word are we looking for kids and why...... (FGS) isn't it included in the test ? Just because it was made legal ?????

check the CNN article

They actually DO reference alcohol, it just wasn't put in the article on this site, when they quoted CNN.  The same research body has found in past studies done on the same pool of data, that people with higher IQs are more likely to drink alcohol to excess (which I would define as "abuse").  So it's not that smart people use the fun drugs and dumb people drink.  Smart people are more likely to do both.

Another influencing factor

Another influencing factor could be that the smarter people identified in the study are more likely to go to university, which in my experience has a general culture of drug use, both legal and illegal..

Smart people more likely to use drugs

The rest of the article title should have been"..and dumb people ABUSE them".  The war on drugs exists because of dumbasses who get stupid and irresponsible and go nuts; and that small minority ruins it for the rest of use who use responsibly, and are productive citizens. I've never been in jail, or have had to steal to get what I need, and I live by the golden rule. I've used drugs most of my adult life- and I am a respected  and well- liked small businessman in my community. And I believe that responsible drug use has made my life more creative and interesting and fulfilling, and I wouldn't change a thing if I were to do it all over.

 (Maybe there should be some kind of screening or licensing process to weed out the ones who shouldn't use.)

That is why this needs to be

That is why this needs to be a MEDICAL issue!  Doctors can do a better job of deciding who can handle it and who can not.  The drug war is a failure because the USA is trying to use cops as trained psychiatrists.  Give the business to the doctors!!!  Medical marijuana, like in CA, is a reasonable model to start with for total legalization of all drugs.

Read original article

I totally agree with the sentiments expressed here.  Totally support legalization and the removal of all BS fed to us regarding drugs and drug use.  And it's a really interesting study. 

But I think that, to be slightly more informed, it's best to click the CNN link to the article they are quoting here.  In addition to the above, which is the main point of the article, they go on to talk about why these findings may be the case. 

Most note-worthy is that the same researchers have found in past studies that children with high IQs are more likely to drink to excess as adults.  That's definitely not good.  So they have a couple of theories about these findings.  First off is indeed curiosity and openness to new experiences.  But also is the idea that they are looking for a way to cope with not fitting in with their peers, which can be done in positive OR negative ways.

Sorry, I'm a psych grad, and the number one thing that I learned was to question anything that references statistics or research studies, because they only report the part that supports their agenda.  This is a great study, but the results are less conclusive than this article leads us to believe.



I think that people with

I think that people with higher IQ´s tend to understand about the world istelf and about the truth of things. People with lower IQ´s are easier to manipulate by andy type of Institution into what to do and what to think about. This is a groundbreaking discovery in my opinion. Nice!

Your Wrong

Don't be a dumbass

Im smart but i also accept that i use drugs simply to get away or have fun.  To fight boredom.  People who say they do it to help them concentrate or it makes them smarter are just justifying why they use drugs for themselves so they can have a clean conscience.  Your just lying to yourself.  You only seem smarter to yourself.

Your sweeping generalisation

Your sweeping generalisation about "people who say.." suggests that you may not be as smart as you think/say you are

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