IHS Drug Usage: An In-Depth Look

Mason J. Webb and Cole Shildkraut

There’s a reason it’s called “high” school. According to the U.S National Library of Medicine, “Nearly half (45.5%) of high school seniors have used marijuana in their lifetime and 68% have used alcohol.” All jokes aside, it is no secret that drug use and high school have a sort of symbiotic relationship. There are many reasons why high schoolers experiment with using various substances; Pressure from peers, the need to self-medicate, study aids, and/or  just looking for a good time are a few. No matter the reason, some high school students are using drugs. The only question left to ask is: does anyone even care?


To be able to answer this question, we asked a handful of students and staff to speak on the issue. We asked these individuals the following questions:


  1. Why do you think High Schoolers are using drugs?
  2. What are some commonly used substances in IHS (and High School in general)
  3. What are some uncommon or less prevalent substances used at IHS (and High School in general)
  4. Do you think substance usage/abuse is a problem at IHS?


By asking these questions we intended to answer a few of our own. First, what substances are being used by “Ipswich High Schoolians”. Clearly, some substances are being used more than others; however, the main goal of this question was to find out what else is being used. Second, will our findings shed some new light on the status of IHS? We all know that drugs are being used, but depending on who you know or who you are, you may have a misconception of school drug usage as a whole.


The consensus among our correspondents was that marijuana, nicotine, and alcohol are the three substances most commonly used by high school students. According to studies done by the FDA, the number of underage vapers in the United States has gone up by 1.3 million since the same time last year. The FDA reported that 37% of high school seniors have tried vaping at least once, up from 28% last year. As a current high school senior, I can attest to this number being much higher than 37%. Examples of some of the lesser used substances, yet still fairly prevalent, would be psychedelics such as LSD and psilocybin mushrooms. Some students have been said to regularly use ecstasy, and Adderall abuse is fairly widespread. One student told us about one specific rumor in which he heard of someone dabbling with prescription pills. A clear agreement between our subjects was that “street drug” use among students is pretty much nonexistent. Most students, at least here in Ipswich, are knowledgeable enough to not be doing heroin or meth.


One teacher came forward and gave his honest opinion on the issue of student drug use. He felt that it was sort of a problem, especially when students are on drugs in school. One interesting thing he said was that he felt like one of the major reasons students use drugs in high school is to “find themselves” and sort of establish an identity. Overall I hope this enlightens your view and knowledge of high school drug use.