75% of undergrads drank underage, The Tech's survey on alcohol and drug use finds

A majority of MIT students have never smoked tobacco or marijuana, but drink alcohol on a monthly or weekly basis. Most feel confident in their ability to care for someone who they believe has had too much to drink; in the 12 months prior to taking The Tech’s alcohol and drug survey, 45 percent of respondents had encountered at least one person they thought was in physical danger as a result of alcohol poisoning. Respondents from Senior House, fraternities, and off-campus living groups were more likely than other students to have tried marijuana in the year before the survey was administered.  

In spring 2014, The Tech surveyed all undergraduates about their use of and attitudes toward alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and other drugs. The survey was anonymous and garnered 1,647 total responses. Each demographic question was optional; students were asked about their living group, gender, class year, and greek affiliation. An interactive display on The Tech’s website,, enables the breakdown of data by answers to demographic questions.


—Almost one-third of undergraduates drink alcohol weekly or more.

—Most students have drunk alcohol before age 21. Seventy-five percent of total respondents had drunk while underage.

—By residence, Senior House and fraternity residents had the highest percentage of students who had drunk underage, and McCormick and Next had the lowest.


—More students have smoked marijuana than tobacco.

—Of those who have smoked, 20 percent have done so in the past year. Three percent reported daily use.

—By residence, marijuana was most common Senior House, fraternities, and off-campus living groups. Restricted to dorms, students in Senior House, East Campus, and Baker were most likely to have tried it at least once.

Other drugs

The Tech asked students about their use of a number of other drugs, including cocaine, heroin, meth, whippets, LSD, and Ketamine. Of these, the most popular were whippets, LSD, and Ketamine, with 19 percent, 12 percent, 2.5 percent, respectively, having used them at least once.

Attitudes and knowledge:

—Students reported their own attitudes toward patterns of drug use, and were asked to rate how they felt their attitudes compared to those of the average MIT student.

—Regarding regular use of marijuana, people rated other students’ views as more liberal than their own. McCormick had the highest, and Senior House the lowest, rate of people responding that they viewed the behavior negatively or very negatively.

—Most respondents feel confident or very confident in their ability to care for someone who has had too much to drink but does not need attention from medical professionals. This rate is higher among greek affiliated students.

Every survey question, and a summarized version of the full dataset, is accessible on The Tech’s website. Contact to ask questions or suggest new perspectives.