A new study finds teenagers who use marijuana and alcohol together are more likely to engage in unsafe driving, compared with those who use one of those substances alone.
“Simultaneous use makes a big difference in your risk for unsafe driving,” said lead researcher Yvonne Terry-McElrath of the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. “There’s a very clear increase in risk for this group of kids, and for the rest of us on the roads.”
Teens who used alcohol alone were 40 percent more likely to admit they had gotten a traffic ticket and 24 percent more likely to admit involvement in a traffic crash, compared with teens who didn’t smoke marijuana or drink. Teens who smoked marijuana and drank were 90 percent more likely to get a ticket and 50 percent more likely to be in a car crash, compared with their peers who didn’t use either substance.
Full story of teen drivers and dangerous substances at drugfree.org
A new government report finds twice as many adult men as women entered substance abuse treatment facilities in 2011. The report found 1.2 million men, and 609,000 females, entered such facilities that year.
Among teens 12 to 17, the rate of substance dependence for both males and females was about 7 percent, UPI reports. The findings come from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Teenage boys were more likely to abuse marijuana, while teenage girls were more likely to abuse alcohol.
Full story of substance abuse treatment for men at drugfree.org
Frequent involvement in spiritual activities appears to help in the treatment of drug and alcohol abuse in young people, a new study suggests.
Previous studies have found young people who regularly attend religious services and consider themselves religious are less likely to try drugs and alcohol, according to The Wall Street Journal. The reasons could include support from congregations, religious instruction or the belief that using drugs and alcohol violates a person’s religious beliefs, the article notes.
Full story of spiritual activities for drug and alcohol treatment at drugfree.org
Raising the minimum drinking age to 21 has been associated with a reduced rate of drunk driving crashes among young Americans, according to a new review of studies.
The increased legal drinking age has also led to a reduction in other health threats associated with heavy drinking, including unsafe sex, suicide and dating violence, HealthDay reports.
In one study, researchers found 36 percent of U.S. college students said they had engaged in binge drinking (five or more drinks in one sitting) in the past two weeks in 2011, compared with 43 percent in 1988—the first year all states implemented a legal drinking age of 21. Among high school seniors, binge drinking decreased from 35 percent in 1988, to 22 percent in 2011.
Full story of reduced crashes at drugfree.org
New research shows that an anti-epilepsy drug may help heavy drinkers reduce their alcohol consumption, says HealthDay.
In a study that included 138 heavy drinkers, one half took the drug topiramate (Topamax) for 12 weeks at a maximum dose of 200 milligrams a day. The other half were given an inactive placebo. Both groups had brief counseling to help them decrease their drinking.
At the end of the 12-week study, placebo group patients were five times more likely to have had a heavy drinking day than those in the Topamax group. Also, compared to the placebo group, more than twice as many patients who took the drug had no heavy drinking days during the last four weeks of the study.
Full story on the anti-epilepsy drug and drinking at drugfree.org