Early Exposure To Drugs, Alcohol Creates Lifetime Of Health Risk

By chillinwill · Oct 17, 2008 · ·
  1. chillinwill
    People who began drinking and using marijuana regularly prior to their 15th birthday face a higher risk of early pregnancy, as well as a pattern of school failure, substance dependence, sexually-transmitted disease and criminal convictions that lasts into their 30s.

    A study published online by the journal Psychological Science has been able to sort out for the first time the difficult question of whether it's bad kids who do drugs, or doing drugs that makes kids bad.

    The answer is both, said Duke University psychologist Avshalom Caspi, who co-authored the report with his wife and colleague Terrie Moffitt. They are part of a team of researchers from the U.S., Britain and New Zealand that analyzed data tracking the health of nearly 1,000 New Zealand residents from birth through age 32.

    Half of the study subjects who were using alcohol and marijuana regularly before age 15 were indeed the so-called "bad kids" who came from an abusive, criminal or substance-abusing household and had behavior problems as children.

    But the other half were the "good kids" from more stable backgrounds, and they also ended up in poorer health in their 30s.

    Caspi said it is clear from these data that adolescent exposure to drugs and alcohol can make a good kid veer off on a bad trajectory. "The good kids who do drugs end up looking like the bad kids who didn't do drugs," Caspi said.

    The "good kids," who were without behavior problems as children and didn't have any of the family risk factors, but who began using drugs and alcohol before 15, ended up being 3.6 times more likely to be dependent on substances at age 32. They were also more likely than the other good kids to wind up with a criminal conviction and a herpes infection.

    Good and bad, the adolescents who regularly used drugs and alcohol "all had poorer health as adults," Caspi said. "This is consistent with a growing body of evidence that early adolescence may be a sensitive time for exposure to alcohol and other drugs."

    He noted however, that the study is not concerned with a kid who tries alcohol a couple of times or who takes a toke at a party. "These are kids who, by the age of 15, are invested in it, purchasing drugs and alcohol and using regularly."

    A third of the girls from the "good kids" group were pregnant before age 21 if they had been using drugs and alcohol regularly. That's the same number of pregnancies as the "bad kids" who didn't use drugs. Two-thirds of the "bad kids" who used before 15 were pregnant before age 21. By comparison, only 12 percent of "good" girls who were non-users had early pregnancies.

    "Even adolescents with no prior history of behavioral problems or family history of substance use problems were at risk for poor health outcomes if they used substances prior to age 15," said first author Candice Odgers of the University of California-Irvine, who did a post-doctoral fellowship with Caspi and Moffitt. "Universal interventions are required to ensure that all children -- not just those entering early adolescence on an at-risk trajectory -- receive an adequate dose of prevention."

    Because the study has tracked these people from birth, "we know pretty much everything about them and we can sort out these things," Caspi said. "We have rich data on these kids' lives and their family situation before they started to do drugs."

    The study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the U.K. Medical Research Council, the William T. Grant Foundation, the Health Research Council of New Zealand, and a National Institute on Drug Abuse grant to the Duke University Transdisciplinary Prevention Research Center.

    Other authors of the Psychological Science paper include Daniel Nagin of Carnegie Mellon University; Barry Milne of King's College, London; Alex Piquero of the University of Maryland, College Park; Wendy Slutske of the University of Missouri-Columbia; and Nigel Dickson and Richie Poulton of the University of Otago in New Zealand.

    ScienceDaily (Oct. 16, 2008)
    Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081016124244.htm

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  1. KomodoMK
    Drug abuse a 'cause not effect' of social problems

    Drug abuse a 'cause not effect' of social problems

    Drug or alcohol abuse among children under the age of 15 is a cause and not an effect of a host of health and social problems, research has suggested.

    Early drinking and drug-taking raise the future risk of addiction, teenage pregnancy, failure at school, sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) and crime, independently of other factors that might predispose to these outcomes, scientists have determined.

    The findings, from a study that followed people for 30 years, are particularly significant because they indicate that drug and alcohol abuse at a young age probably contributes directly to subsequent problems.

    While the link is known from previous research, scientists have struggled to tell whether early substance abuse is a cause of later behavioural and health troubles, or a symptom of deprived social or family circumstances that also explain these issues.

    The new study, led by Candice Odgers, of the University of California, Irvine, favours the former hypothesis — that “drugs are bad for kids”, rather than “bad kids do drugs”.

    Dr Odgers, who conducted the research while at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College, London, said: “Findings from this study are consistent with the message that early substance use leads to significant problems in adolescents’ future lives — that drugs are bad for kids — versus the alternative message that young adolescents with a history of problems are just more likely to use drugs early and experience poor outcomes — that bad kids do drugs.

    “Even adolescents with no prior history of behavioural problems or family history of substance use problems were at risk for poor health outcomes if they used substances prior to age 15. Universal interventions are required to ensure that all children — not only those entering early adolescence on an at-risk trajectory — require an adequate dose of prevention.”

    In the study, which is published in the journal Psychological Science, Dr Odgers investigated a set of 1,000 young people who were born in the New Zealand town of Dunedin in 1972 and 1973.

    She found that those who used drugs or alcohol before the age of 15 were between 2.4 and 5 times more likely than their peers to have experienced health or social problems later in life.

    The effect applied to dropping out of school, becoming addicted to drugs or an alcoholic, having a criminal convicion, becoming pregnant as a teenager, and testing positive for an STI.

    Early use was classified as taking drugs or drinking alcohol on numerous occasions, buying them, or using them at school. This eliminated anyone who drank alcohol at home, or who tried the substances on a one-off basis.

    Dr Odgers also compared children deemed at high risk of poor health and social outcomes, such as those with prior behavioural problems or from broken families, with low-risk children.

    Low-risk children who used drugs or alochol early still tended to finish secondary school. However, they remained between 2.7 and 3.8 times more likely to have experienced one of the four other social and health problems.

    The results, Dr Odgers suggested, mean that it is important to try to prevent early drinking and drug use among all children, not just those from high-risk backgrounds.

    Almost 50 per cent of adolescents who used alcohol or drugs before the age of 15 could not have been identified based on child behaviour problems or family risk factors, she said.

    The study is indicative of a causal effect, but does not prove it, because children were not randomly assigned to drug-use and non-drug-use groups.

    Source: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article4958885.ece

    # Mark Henderson
    # Times Online
    # October 17, 2008
  2. Expat98
    Threads merged.
  3. Herbal Healer 019
    SWIM thinks if you get into drugs at a younger age and get all the "bad" shit outta the way you'll likely learn from your mistakes and end up in better health in the long run because youl have already been through the "drug phaze" also making the person respect the drugs they use in the future helping to avoid addiction
  4. dutch-marshal
    for everyone that would be different.. some people never learn.. and others will try harder... so thats a hard topic to debate
  5. El Calico Loco
    I'm all for kids waiting until their brain is finished developing before using drugs, but I think this is bull. They claim some kids had no family problems, but how do they know? The abuse doesn't have to be physical; a domineering father or nitpicking mother can make one miserable.

    What do all of these things - pregnancy, STDs, crime, drug abuse - have in common? Pleasure-seeking, high time preference, unawareness of or indifference to risk. This is a question of personality - what sort of behaviors are common to a personality, not how the personality formed.

  6. KomodoMK
    I completely agree Calkico Loco.

    My little fishy got into drugs through curiosity. And it's that same curiosity that lead him to these forums after first using drugs to find out how they work. Little fishy is also a risk taker and loves the natural rush of adrenaline and a dopamine surge if he gets away with it. This is just part of his personality and has no reflection on his upbringing as far as he is aware.
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