Research reports a positive correlation between high IQ in childhood with use in adulthood of illegal substances. Through cognitive ability testing at age 11 followed by questionnaires in later life, the studies have yielded statistically significant data. Previously, comparable studies have shown that people with higher IQs tend to make healthier lifestyle choices.
Evolutionary psychologists suggest highly-intelligent people may be driven to seek out the new to improve problem-solving abilities, thereby increasing their chances of evolutionary survival.
Perhaps people with high IQs tend to use illegal substances more than others because they are able to intellectualize their behaviour. This makes it easier to maintain the illusion of control hence perpetuating dependence. Isolation and social maladjustment may also contribute but this could be specifically relevant to gifted children with IQs of 170+.
The data focuses solely on IQ as a measure of intelligence and does not take into account good decision-making skills. Emotional intelligence and creativity are not considered. An holistic notion of intelligence would be more appropriate in this context, as demonstrated by studies that show a link between low emotional intelligence and illegal substance use.
Image courtesy of Fred Von Graf