New Study: Smart People More Likely to Use Drugs

Posted in:

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.

Follow me on Twitter

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!


I'm sure YOUR smart all right.

Perhaps The Findings For This

Perhaps The Findings For This Study Are Being Released Prematurely.. This Is Correlation NOT Causation, Just Because An Individual Is Intelligent Does Not Mean They Are Going To Be A Drug User.. Perhaps The More Intelligent, The Higher The SES, The Greater Ability They Have To Afford Drugs Without Committing Crimes etc.?

Even Further... IQ Is Not

Even Further... IQ Is Not Something We Are Born With It Requires Satisfaction Of Our Needs, Resources And Adequate Diet... To Buy Drugs You Need Resources, Which Wealthy Families Have.. To Top That When Are These People "Trying" Drugs.. In Their Teens When The Logical Reasoning And Higher Function Is Not Yet Developed But They Have Access? 

Finally There Is Research To Support Both Sides Of Every Claim Out There... Some People Are Just Desperate To Believe Anything To Justify Their Own Actions

Something to think about

I agree that the data is correlation and not causation, but the data is not premature.  Correlational studies are valid articles of research that should be released when the statistical analyses are completed, especially if they promote further research on the topic.  On that note, I also agree that some people are "just desperate to believe anything to justify their own actions."

The first thing I noticed while reading the article here was that it did not provide a citation, nor did it ever supply the name of an author or an article title.  So I clicked the CNN link only to find they did not provide a citation either, but they did give the author and article title.  I did a little web research and read the pieces of the article that were free (and, honestly, the easiest for me to search.  This isn't a homework assignment :P).  This is when I noticed that the research is a cohort study of 1970.  Has no one taken into account the gross popularity of drugs, particularly marijuana, around this time period?.

Anonymous5137 provided two good questions to further the expanse of the research: wealth of participants and age of participants when the drug is tried.  More questions could refer to the amount of the drug used, the measurement of drug usage (self report? physiological exams? frequent tests?), and the operational definition of "high" IQ.

Before you all jump at the chance to have a "research article" support your drug use, try to prove your "intelligence" by first establishing the external validity of the study.  To follow Method of Authority is an ignorant epistemology to so readily use.
 ." .

In my opinion, our society as

In my opinion, our society as it stands now, couldn't handle legalization of all drugs. I think in a resource based economy a lot of the problems with drug abuse would vanish over time as long as the drugs are regulated properly. People would have to be properly educated about drugs and would have to know enough about the drug by the time they had an opportunity to try it out. Worldwide Equality would over time eliminate the violence that materialistic corrupted minds create. I am young and very naive no doubt, however I am completely done believing in our system as it is. Destroying our home (earth) in the name of profit is very short term thinking.  Letting Corporations richer than countries to continue to deplete our resources, all for the bullshit almighty dollar will not last as long as the 1% would like it to. We will either go extinct or learn that our earth does not have infinite resources.

smart ppl

just was reading your comments, and im just like to say your responses are far more interesting than the actually topic. but the fact that it sounds like that none of you no shit about the real world and real ppl, its funny, i wouldnt be visiting this page again, cause the folk live in la la land, and yeah my brain is far more powerful than yours, ive seen things been places, shit that you could only dream off, basically im better than you, how does that feel, still want to talk about the stats of drugs, you cant even control yourself reading an email comment. 

It's OK if you don't come back, Lord

really, don't worry, you won't hurt anyone's feelings, it's ok.

I am 27 and have a 1:0

I am 27 and have a 1:0 degree, and numerous other qualifications and DON'T do drugs. Drugs are not cool and the world is not a better/ more creative place because of them. To all the idiots that do drugs (which seems to be 99.9% of the population), why don't you go and tell the relatives of a dead junkie that 'drugs are cool' and I'm sure they will thank you for it. 

That junkie

That Junkie was stupid enough to use impure bullshit synthetic and addictive drugs. yes ive done so called addictive drugs but its not a once and you hooked thing. drugs have comedowns if you cant handle the comedown and NEED more maybe your to stupid and ignorant to live. that good sir is natural selection! research before you throw yourself at something your pussy brain cant handle.


You know, I think the various and sundry conversations here have illustrated the point of the article in a way that could not have possibly been explained. In other words, proven by example. When you tally up the intent of the responses that are intelligent, well-formed, and educated and then do the same for the responses that are riddled with spelling, typographical, and grammatical errors, it would appear that the population actually does support the article's claim, whether they intended to or not. It makes me laugh, and so very hard.


However, content of the article is not news to me. It does not take a genius to figure out who would be more affected by things like thinly veiled lies, scarcely concealed injustice, and the state of the world around them as an individual. You really need to be an idiot to be content with the things you are told and follow the instructions you are given without question and take everything at its face value. What is interesting is that one group will shout 'do you think I'm stupid?' upon being told of someone else's mistreatment of them, while the other will simply smile and find a way to return the favor tenfold. The division of higher and lower intelligence is once again laid out for us in the form that satisfaction takes in a given individual.


Individuals with a higher intelligence might be prone to doing stupid things on occasion, but those of lower intelligence will never do anything smart. Makes you wonder why certain groups and organizations favor the stupid. Perhaps these willfully ignorant, unintelligent, and uncreative groups are, in fact, led by someone of lower intelligence.

Smart People

I am very interested in this concept of high vs low IQ's. I feel as though I am very intelligent, I understand people I see right through the BS that most people portray. It is very easy for me to manipulate people or understand what they are trying to do before they do it. I can make people think I am dumber than them, which in turn is humorous to me because of how much smarter I really am than them. Anyone else feel this way? It is unusual to me because I am in college (USA), and my grades are sub-par. It is frustrating, because deep down I am 100% sure I am smarter than the majority of these kids, they just have the motivation to do the homework that I find dull. Overall, I am just putting this out there because I want to know if other smart people like me exist. I have 2 friends that I feel are at my level, and everyone else think we are too funny and real dumb because of the way we act/play with their minds. Just throwing it out there, thanks for reading!

same here

i get amazing grades on tests and classwork that i am essentially forced to do but i have no motivation toward homework. since when can the goverment tell me that even if i know the required curriculum i have to do as they say on my own time at home endlessly reapeating the crap they force into my head. why the fuck do i have to know exact dates for things that happened hundreds of years ago. not only that but our learning seems to be filled with pro government propaganda and you fail if you belive its a lie. i cant tell you how many times a teacher has repeatedly told me untrue information and put it on a test for every kid to belive its true.

black tar does one thing

drugs are what ever u make them out to be, but the truth of the matter is, weed is good for u. coke is ajoke and no one should waist money on power that makes u numb and jittery. drink some fuckin caff. but heres my point i hav sat back and seen all my friends slip away into heroin, and iv lost them . ya they may have been smart but not any more. they are all dieng  in from of my eyes. ya u may thing it makes them a better artist or musician but what do they say in there songs..... they r lost in the darkness. SMOKE WEEEED ONLY!!!!!!!

We should be a supportive parents

Yes, we cannot just blame it to high IQ, those kid needs just ONE SUPPORTIVE FAMILY.

Yeah, this is especially true

Yeah, this is especially true when it comes to psychedelics, I'd say.


The way I see it, it's foolish to say that drugs are bad, but it's as foolish to say they are good. Many people use recreational drugs for self-betterment and relaxation, with no harmful effects to themselves or others. Sure, you can expound all day on the "hindrances" to the mind and motivation of smoking marijuana, but overwhelmingly people will agree that marijuana expands their consciousness, rather than inhibits them in any way. On the flip side, drugs like cocaine and heroin should not be taken as lightly -- they are chemically addictive, like caffeine and nicotine, and can more easily affect a person's judgment and priorities. At the same time, that's not to say that those "harder" drugs are "bad." A thing is never inherently good or bad; it's only after the idea of it passes through our mind's "morality" filters that it becomes so.

So are they good or bad? It comes down to the individual's judgment, which, when dealing with drugs, can be difficult, since drugs can affect your judgment. I smoked marijuana for a good six years, and was convinced it was good for me in many ways. I still believe it was good for me in many ways -- but I also acknowledge many ways in which it hindered me. Even now I sometimes wonder if I should have quit. But that's what it comes down to, being honest with yourself. Setting your priorities. If spending all your money and pawning all your possessions to pursue a cocaine high is your top priority, then by all means, go on an endless binge. But if you feel that you are capable of more, if you want to explore yourself without drugs, then that is also your own personal decision -- only good or bad when you decide it so.

Just keep in mind the people who love you, who you love, and your passions in life.

good lord - stupidest thing

good lord - stupidest thing i've ever about justification...thats the biggest pile of crap ever...someone needs to grow the hell up

You guys should check out

You guys should check out , it's pretty awesome.

im just a teenager but

I may just be the 16 yr old kid no one will listen to. I've been smoking Marijuana since i was 13, i get very high test scores in math and science (never was a great writer) and i use pot to sleep through the night. ive never been diagnosed but i belive im a "insomniac". anywho i use pot recreationally as well and it allows me to zone out the unimportant things and get to work. ive done just about every standard drug besides meth and opiates or perscriptions and they really helped me find my purpose the LSD opened my mind, the extacy opened my heart, and the pot keeps me sane. i have not seen any real side effects on my life and im tired of having to be careful and almost paranoid about getting in trouble. i do want to go somewhere in life and a drug conviction will not help me out. (i know its cleared when im 18) i mean after. if its not more harmful than alcohol it should be legal for adults to do as they please. even if it is what right does america have to tell me I CAN'T SMOKE CRACK. Free country huh, Fuck america!

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <i> <blockquote> <p> <address> <pre> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <br> <b>

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, Vaping, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safer Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School