Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Inhalants Remain Popular Among Pre-Teens

Results of a study released by the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition found that pre-teens are more likely to try inhalants than marijuana. This trend continued into the early teen years.

“In the past year, 3.4 percent of 12-year-olds report using an inhalant, while only 1.1 percent tried marijuana, and 2.7 percent took prescription painkillers. That trend continued with 13-year-olds, with 4.8 percent using inhalants, 4 percent trying marijuana, and 3.9 percent taking prescription painkillers.”

Inhalants can cause severe neurological damage and sudden death. Nevertheless, more than 45 percent of 12- and 13-year-olds who tried drugs last year used inhalants. Read more at

Monday, January 10, 2011

Nevada Mom Arrested for Allowing Teens to Drink, Smoke Pot

According to a Jan. 3 article in the Reno Gazette-Journal, a mother was taken into custody for allowing teenagers to drink and use drugs under her supervision:

Washoe County Sheriff’s deputies were alerted to the party at Romick’s home in the 12500 block of Thomas Creek Road after a teen boy who had previously run away returned home under the influence of alcohol. Deputy Armando Avina said the boy told his mother he had been at Romick’s home with some other boys.

When deputies went to investigate around 4:15 a.m. Saturday, they said they saw teen boys through the front window who were running to the back of the home, Avina said. In plain view, deputies saw a bag of suspected marijuana and drug pipes.

Though allowing teens to use drugs is clearly a parental “no-no,” many parents may not be aware that allowing underage individuals to drink alcohol is also illegal. Many states and communities are taking a harder line regarding the prosecution of adults who factilitate or allow teen alcohol abuse.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Is Dallas Too Lenient on Teen Drunk Driving?


In an article that appeared in the Jan. 2 edition of the Dallas Morning News, writers Diane Jennings, Selwyn Crawford and Darlean Spangenberger revelaed that, contrary to its “tough on crime” reputation, Dallas is relatively lax when it comes to punishing youths who have been arrested for drinking and driving:

A Dallas Morning News analysis of Dallas’ municipal court found that about 850 kids under age 17 were ticketed for those offenses between 2004 and 2009. Hundreds more go through justice of the peace and other municipal courts in the county. And some are never ticketed at all.

It is “completely contrary to our ‘tough on DWI’ ” stance, says Clay Abbott, DWI resource prosecutor for the Texas District and County Attorneys Association.

The philosophy of juvenile justice is to give young offenders a second chance. But some experts say merely giving a young person a ticket with a few hours of community service and six hours of “alcohol awareness” lectures is a missed opportunity to stop the cycle of drinking and driving through treatment.

Some youthful offenders need more than a long lecture, they say. They need a substance abuse evaluation and, if they are deemed to have a problem, intensive treatment.

“We want to forgive and overlook youthful indiscretions,” Abbott said. But studies show that young drinkers are more likely to reoffend. “By not punishing the kids earlier, it becomes more serious as an adult problem.”

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Student Says Peers to Blame for Encouraging Teen Drinking

In a commentary that was posted Dec. 31 on, Strongsville High School senior Divya Raj identified peer pressure as a common cause of teen drinking:

Why is it, that by the end of high school, 75 percent of students have consumed more than a few sips of alcohol, according to Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD)?

And according to the U.S. Department of Justice, people under the age of 21 drink 19.7 percent of the alcohol consumed in the U.S. It cannot be because students don’t know the risks of drinking.

We practically come out of the cradle knowing that drinking equals bad. So why do underage students drink?

The answer might be described as peer pressure, but that might not be 100 percent accurate. If a person refuses to drink, they’re probably not going to be forced to. Instead, their fellow drinkers will just feel that “there’s more for me.”

However, it’s more likely students start to drink because their friends are doing it. They might just not want to feel left out. Or they might feel like they’re missing something by not getting drunk. It’s probably a combination of reasons, but once someone has taken their first drink, chances are it won’t be their last.

Monday, January 03, 2011

‘Hypertexting’ Teens More Likely to Drink, Smoke, Have Sex

Confidential surveys of more than 4,000 Cleveland-area schools have revealed a troubling relationship between excessive text-messaging and a wide range of dangerous teen behaviors.

According to Case Western Reserve University researchers, teens who send more than 120 text messages per day (which just under 20 percent of teens do), are at increased risk for engaging in the following behaviors:

  • 40 per cent more likely to have tried cigarettes
  • Two times more likely to have tried alcohol
  • 43 per cent more likely to be binge drinkers
  • 41 per cent more likely to have used illicit drugs
  • 55 per cent more likely to have been in a physical fight
  • Nearly three-and-a-half times more likely to have had sex
  • 90 per cent more likely to report four or more sexual partners

Friday, December 24, 2010

Binge Drinking Linked to Brain Damage in Teens

Yet another scientific study using MRI technology has linked teenage binge drinking to brain damage.

Professor Susan Tapert of the University of California, San Diego, performed brain scans on 28 people ages 16 to 19 years old. Half of Prof. Taper’s subjects were binge drinkers who got drunk often. This group had lower levels of white matter fiber coherence in 18 separate areas of their brains. White matter is critical for the relay of information within the brain.

“Because the brain is still developing during adolescence, there has been concern that it may be more vulnerable to high doses of alcohol,” Dr. Tapert said.

Government surveys show that about 55 percent of all high school seniors say they have been drunk once in the past year, and about 25 percent report drinking five drinks in a row during the past two weeks.

This study appeared in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mom’s Drinking May Increase Likelihood of Teen Alcoholism

Pregnant rats that ingest alcohol give birth to offspring that are attracted to that substance, according to a new study from the State University of New York.

Scientists have already shown that for humans, the best predictor of teen and adult alcoholism is having a mother who drank during pregnancy.

The theory of the new study is that mammals can ‘learn’ that alcohol is something good even in utero, according to Professor Steven Youngentob. He and his colleagues point out that the senses are among the first systems to develop. A fetus may “learn” by smell and sight what to eat and drink according to what its mother ingests.

“All that information gets transmitted to the fetus during gestation or lactation,” Dr. Youngentob explained. He believes this adaptation probably works in humans as well as rats.

If a young rat was not exposed to alcohol by adulthood, it lost its attraction. This study appears in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience.

Boarding schools for teens with substance abuse and addiction problems can help by offering a powerful combination of therapy and accredited academics.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Teens Who Think Parents Pay Attention Less Likely to Use Marijuana

Teens who think their parents are watching over their behaviors are less likely to use marijuana, according to new research from the Claremont Graduate University.

Dr. William Crano and his colleagues reviewed 17 previous studies of more than 35,000 people.

“It was clear that kids who thought their parents were monitoring them used much less marijuana than kids who did not.,”Dr. Crano said. “The interesting thing is that this has to do with the kids’ perception of parents monitoring and not necessarily what their parents are actually doing.”

“If your kids think that you know what they are doing and where they are at, who they are with and what they are doing when they are not within your sight — that has a big impact on the kind of trouble they are going to get into,” Dr. Crano said.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Among Texas Teens, Girls Drink More than Boys Do

A Texas community organization, Texans Standing Tall, has found that girls in grades 7 through 12 have been drinking more than boys do, thanks in large part to alcoholic energy drinks (many of which are no longer available).

“Energy drinks are popular among youth, including those that contain alcohol… The only difference on the can labels is the absence of nutrition facts and the appearance of an alcohol percentage. Alcoholic beverages aren’t governed by the FDA…”

Anheuser-Bush has now removed all of its alcoholic energy drinks from circulation, in response to a lawsuit claiming the drinks were marketed toward young people. Source: Lufkin (TX) Daily News

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Attitudes Toward Smoking Influence Teens’ Choices about Alcohol, Other Drugs

A study from from Weill Cornell Medical College suggests that friends’ and parents’ attitudes toward smoking may influence teens’ use of alcohol and other drugs. The study also suggests gender differences in teens’ substance abuse decisions:

  • Professor Jennifer Epstein and her colleagues surveyed 2,406 sixth and seventh graders in New York City for this study.
  • Girls were more influenced to use drugs and alcohol if their immediate peer group held benevolent or permissive attitudes toward smoking.
  • If a boy thought that boys his age in general were smoking, he was more likely to use tobacco, drugs and alcohol himself.

“If a teenager feels that smoking is socially acceptable and widely practiced, they are much more likely not only to smoke but to also drink and use marijuana,” Dr. Epstein said. “A parent’s opinion matters. Moms and dads are critical role models and should let their attitudes against drug use be known.”

This study appeared in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse.