New study finds teens may be more prone to addiction

By Staff Writer

Adolescents may be more prone to drug use than older individuals, according to new research presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. The findings underscore the importance of substance abuse treatment for young people who have started using drugs.

For the study, a team of researchers from the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Chicago trained mice of all ages to use a devise that administered cocaine. They found that adolescent mice learned how to use the device more quickly and took larger quantities than adult mice.

Additionally, when researchers adjusted the device to make it more difficult to obtain the drug, younger mice worked significantly harder than their older counterparts to get at the drug.

While the mouse model doesn’t prove that human youths are more likely to take drugs and become addicted, researchers said that it does suggest a potential biological basis that may predispose adolescents to pleasure-seeking behaviors.

The findings suggest that parents who suspect their children of drug use may want to talk to them about the issue and send them to rehab facilities if appropriate, as youths may have a harder time curbing the behavior.