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.

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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

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

Fewer Australian teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Aussie students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

More than 2800 Australian students aged 12-17 took part in a survey of drinking behaviour, conducted by researchers from the University of Adelaide’s School of Psychology and the Population Health group at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI).

The results of the study, now published in the journal BMC Public Health, provide a snapshot of the prevalence of alcohol consumption among students, and the factors that most influence their drinking behaviour. This research has been supported by Cancer Council SA and SA Government.

Full story at Science Daily

Heavy drinking during adolescence: Dire effects on the brain

What would a celebration be without alcohol, whether we are talking about a private or professional event? Drinking alcohol, is a well-engrained and long-standing social habit in many countries around the world, even though the fact that alcohol has an impact on one’s health is largely established, especially when it comes to heavy drinking. In particular, adolescents are known to enjoy their drinking games and nights-out without worrying much about the effects alcohol can have on their health. In fact, drinking in high quantities is common during adolescence with nearly 25% of high school seniors in the US reporting that they got drunk in the last 30 days.

The effects of heavy drinking among young people on the brain have been looked at closely in a mini review published in Frontiers in Psychology by Anita Cservenka, Assistant Professor at Oregon State University et.al.

Full story at Science Daily