Insufficient sleep associated with risky behavior in teens

Adolescents require 8-10 hours of sleep at night for optimal health, according to sleep experts, yet more than 70 percent of high school students get less than that. Previous studies have demonstrated that insufficient sleep in youth can result in learning difficulties, impaired judgement, and risk of adverse health behaviors. In a new study, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital examined a national data sample of risk-taking behaviors and sleep duration self-reported by high school students over eight years and found an association between sleep duration and personal safety risk-taking actions. Results are published in a JAMA Pediatrics research letter on October 1.

“We found the odds of unsafe behavior by high school students increased significantly with fewer hours of sleep,” said lead author Mathew Weaver, PhD, research fellow, Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders, Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “Personal risk-taking behaviors are common precursors to accidents and suicides, which are the leading causes of death among teens and have important implications for the health and safety of high school students nationally.”

Full story at Science Daily

One-third of young adults have ridden with an impaired driver

A new study led by a Colorado State University researcher indicates that riding with an impaired driver is prevalent among emerging adults, with 33 percent of recent high school grads reporting the risky behavior at least once in the previous year.

In addition, the study shows that young adults are more likely to ride with a driver impaired by marijuana than a driver who is drunk. The research, published in the March issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, is one of the first to ask about what specific substance was used by the driver and who the driver was.

“Parents should be a role model by not driving while impaired, and real friends should stop their friends from driving after using substances — if using substances cannot be stopped,” said Kaigang Li, Ph.D., M.Ed., a Colorado State University assistant professor of health and exercise science.

Full story at Science Daily

Recreational marijuana legalization: Do more youth use or do youth use more?

What impact may legalization of recreational marijuana in Oregon have on teen marijuana use? Recent results from an Oregon Research Institute (ORI) study indicate that the influence of legalization on youth may depend on whether they were already using at the time of legalization. Following legalization of recreational marijuana, no significant changes in the numbers of youth who used marijuana occurred, yet increases in the frequency of use by youth who were already using marijuana were found. For teenagers who had tried marijuana by 8th grade, the frequency of use during the following year increased 26% more for those who were in 9th grade after marijuana was legalized compared to those who were in 9th grade prior to legalization. The research results are published online in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.

“When making policy decisions about marijuana, it is important to consider how those policies can effect teenagers. Although legalization of recreational marijuana prohibits use in those under 21, changes in youth attitudes toward marijuana, age of initiation, and frequency of use may occur,” said Julie C. Rusby, Ph.D., principal investigator of the research.

Full story at Science Daily

Vaping popular among teens; opioid misuse at historic lows

Nearly 1 in 3 students in 12th grade report past year use of some kind of vaping device, raising concerns about the impact on their health. What they say is in the device, however, ranges from nicotine, to marijuana, to “just flavoring.” The survey also suggests that use of hookahs and regular cigarettes is declining. These findings come from the 2017 Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey of eighth, 10th and 12th graders in schools nationwide, reported today by the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, along with scientists from the University of Michigan, who conduct the annual research. The survey asks teens about “any vaping” to measure their use of electronic vaporizers. It is important to note that some research suggests that many teens do not actually know what is in the device they are using, and even if they read the label, not all labeling is consistent or accurate.

The survey shows that 27.8 percent of high school seniors reported “vaping” in the year prior to the survey, which was taken in the beginning of 2017. When asked what they thought was in the mist they inhaled the last time they used the vaping device, 51.8 percent of 12th graders said, “just flavoring,” 32.8 percent said “nicotine,” and 11.1 percent said “marijuana” or “hash oil.” The survey also asks about vaping with specific substances during the past month. Among 12th graders, more than 1 in 10 say they use nicotine, and about 1 in 20 report using marijuana in the device.

Full story at drugabuse.gov

This drug could block harmful impact of teen binge drinking

Alcohol-fueled parties might be seen as a rite of passage for many high school students, but they have an unexpected impact: binge-drinking behavior as teenagers can lead to problems with alcohol and other drug dependence later on in life.

That’s according to researchers from the University of Adelaide, who are making advances in an emerging field of research highlighting the importance of the brain’s immune system in our desire to drink alcohol.

The Adelaide researchers have made a discovery that may eventually help to switch off binge-drinking behavior in adults who used to binge during their adolescent years.

Full story at Science Daily