A non-trivial portion of traffic fatalities involve alcohol or illicit drugs. But does the use of alcohol and illegal substances—which is linked to depression, suicide, and criminal activity—also reduce academic performance? Recent studies suggest that drinking alcohol has a negative, if modest, effect on grades, and although students who use illegal substances are more likely to drop out of school than those who do not, this may reflect the influence of other, difficult-to- measure factors at the individual level, such as personality.
Alcohol consumption has only a modest effect on academic performance as measured by grades.
Even binge drinking appears to have, at most, a modest impact on academic performance.
Alcohol use does not appreciably reduce the probability of attending, or graduating from, university.
There is evidence, albeit weak, that drinking reduces the probability of graduating from high school.
Illicit drug use by students is generally unresponsive to policy intervention.
Because illicit drug use is unresponsive to policy, very little is known about its relationship to educational outcomes.