The mean age of first-time drug use in Indiana has been slowly increasing since 2004. Different categories of drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, each have different average starting ages.
Using data extrapolated from a drug-use study of 338,268 people who self-reported their drug use on the National Survey of Drug Use and Health, the mean age of starting to drink was 16.5 in 2004 and 17 in 2020. This trend appears to have ended in the 2020 survey as numbers began to decrease.
Cocaine and crack cocaine
According to the drug-use survey, the average age for beginning to use cocaine in 2020 was 18 for cocaine and crack cocaine. The mean age of first-time users has risen almost a full year since 2004.
Marijuana and tobacco
The mean age of first-time marijuana and tobacco users was barely 16 in 2004. In 2020, the mean age rose from 16.4 to 16.5 for marijuana while the mean age for first-time tobacco use rose from 16.4 to 16.8. The study also looked at smokeless tobacco and found it had stayed almost steady at 16.7 to 16.8. The research does not include results for vaping or e-cigarettes.
The study found that most teens used inhalants first and self-reported using them when they were 14.5 years old on average.
Researchers looked at a total of 18 drug classes. It found that the mean age of first-time use had risen for 12 drug types. Researchers also found no difference in the mean age of first-time users of crack cocaine, methamphetamines, opioids, phenyl cyclohexyl piperidine (PCP), sedatives or tranquilizers.
Respondents in the study reported using their first drugs in late middle school and high school. Over time, the average age of using drugs for the first time has risen since 2004.