Social Media is Bringing Our Teens Down


According to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there was a 33% increase in the number of teens experiencing depression, a 23% rise in teen suicide attempts, and a 31% surge in the number of teens who died by suicide in the five years between 2010 to 2015. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Foundation says suicide is now the second leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 10 to 24. What has gone wrong in the lives of our teens and why at such an alarming rate? Despite the critical nature of this question, there are no clear answers. There is, however, a great deal of speculation, and many say our kids’ use of social media contributes this high suicide rate. In a paper published in Clinical Psychological Science, researcher Jean Twenge and her colleagues found significant increases in depression, suicide attempts, and...

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Teens Dependent on Marijuana and Alcohol Struggle with Success Later in Life


Teens who are dependent on marijuana and alcohol struggle to achieve hallmarks of adult success, such as graduating from college, getting married, having a full-time job and earning a good salary, a new study finds. Researchers at the University of Connecticut tracked 1,165 study participants, starting at age 12. They checked in on them at two-year intervals, until they were between 25 and 34 years old, HealthDay reports. Most of the participants had a grandparent, parent, aunt or uncle with an alcohol problem. Marijuana and alcohol dependence appeared to have a more severe effect on young men. “Parents should try to delay their children’s onset of use as much as possible,” said researcher Victor Hesselbrock. “If you can push regular use back well into adolescence, the kids do a lot better.” The study was presented at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association.  

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Smoking Marijuana and Driving


A new study conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) found that a third of all teens surveyed think it is legal to drive under the influence of marijuana in states where it has been legalized for recreational use.In the same study, 27 percent of parents surveyed believe it to be legal as well. The study found that while 93 percent of parents think driving under the influence of alcohol is dangerous, only 76 percent feel that driving under the influence of marijuana is dangerous. The results indicate that teens are receiving mixed messages about the dangers of marijuana use and driving. This thinking puts themselves and fellow drivers at risk, particularly with 22 percent of teens admitting that driving under the influence of marijuana is common around their friends.However, marijuana use has a direct impact on your body, similar to alcohol. According to the National Institute...

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Teens Who Try K2 May be Using the Drug Regularly


Three percent of high school seniors say they use the synthetic drug known as “K2” or “Spice,” a new study finds. Almost half of the teens who report K2 use say they have used it more than three times in the past month, UPI reports. K2 or Spice are also known as synthetic cannabinoids (SCs). “This finding is important because it implies that half of current users are using SCs more than once or twice, which may suggest more than just mere experimentation,” lead researcher Joseph Palamar of NYU Langone Medical Center said in a news release. “In fact, 20 percent of current users reported use on 20 to 30 days in the past month, suggesting daily or almost-daily use.” The study, published in Pediatrics, found eight out of 10 teens who reported current K2 use also said they use marijuana. Synthetic cannabinoids have been found to have a potency ranging...

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Binge Drinking Rate Declines Among Teens and Young Adults


The rate of binge drinking among U.S. teens and young adults has declined over the past six years, according to a new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Among teens and young adults ages 12 to 20, 14 percent report having engaged in binge drinking in the past month. The findings are based on an annual survey of 67,500 people, HealthDay reports. The states with the highest levels of underage binge drinking – 21 percent — were North Dakota, New Hampshire and Vermont. States with the lowest levels were North Carolina (11.6 percent), Tennessee (11.45 percent) and Utah (10.9 percent).

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Bullied Teens More Likely to Smoke, Drink and Use Drugs


Children who are bullied in fifth grade are more likely to become depressed and experiment with drugs and alcohol during their teen years than their peers who weren’t victimized by other kids, a U.S. study suggests. Researchers followed almost 4,300 students starting in fifth grade, when they were around 11 years old. By tenth grade, 24 percent of the teens drank alcohol, 15 percent smoked marijuana and 12 percent used tobacco. More frequent episodes of physical and emotional bullying in fifth grade were associated with higher odds of depression by seventh grade, which was in turn linked to greater likelihood of substance use later in adolescence, the study found. "We drew on the self-medication hypothesis when trying to understand why peer victimization may lead to substance use over time," said lead study author Valerie Earnshaw, a human development and family studies researcher at the University of Delaware in Newark. "This suggests...

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Teen Marijuana-Related Visits to Colorado ER Rose Rapidly After Legalization


A Colorado children’s hospital reports visits by teens to its emergency department and satellite urgent care centers more than quadrupled after the state legalized marijuana, a new study finds. Researchers examined the hospital’s records for 13- to 21-year-olds between 2005 and 2015. Colorado legalized medical marijuana in 2010 and recreational marijuana in 2014. The annual number of visits related to marijuana or involving a positive marijuana urine drug screen more than quadrupled, from 146 in 2005 to 639 in 2014, the researchers found. They will present their research at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting in San Francisco. “The state-level effect of marijuana legalization on adolescent use has only begun to be evaluated,” lead author George Sam Wang, MD said in a news release. “As our results suggest, targeted marijuana education and prevention strategies are necessary to reduce the significant public health impact of the drug can have on adolescent populations,...

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Few Teens Treated for Opioid Addiction Get Medication-Assisted Treatment

Few Teens Treated for Opioid Addiction Get Medication-Assisted Treatment

Only 2.4 percent of teens in treatment for heroin addiction receive medication-assisted treatment, a new study finds. In contrast, 26.3 percent of adults received treatment with addiction medications such as methadone or buprenorphine, Reuters reports. Researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health found only .4 percent of teens in treatment for prescription opioid addiction receive medication-assisted treatment, compared with 12 percent of adults. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises doctors to consider medication-assisted treatment for teens with severe opioid use disorders. “There’s more that needs to be done across the board to facilitate access to these treatments when they’re medically necessary,” lead researcher Kenneth Feder told Reuters. “The best validated treatment for somebody struggling with an opiate addiction is treatment that includes some sort of medication assistance.” The study appears in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Want to learn more about What Is Medication-Assisted Recovery? Click here.

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Pediatrics Group Issues New Guidelines for Talking to Teens About Marijuana

Pediatrics Group Issues New Guidelines for Talking to Teens About Marijuana

The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued new guidelines for doctors and parents to talk to teens about the risks of using marijuana, CNN reports. The organization said changes in the legal status of marijuana may lower teens’ perceptions of the risk, and may lead to more teens trying the drug. A recent survey found there is a decrease in the percentage of teens who say they believe there is a great risk in smoking marijuana once a month or once or twice a week. Doctors should screen preteens and teens for marijuana use, the group said. If they find a teen is using marijuana regularly or heavily, they can then decide if the teen would benefit from treatment, including counseling and medication. Parents should tell teens marijuana can cause abnormal brain development and impact memory, concentration and executive functioning skills, the group said. They also noted, “If you use marijuana...

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Brain Scans Could Predict Teens’ Problem Drug Use Before It Starts

Brain Scans Could Predict Teens’ Problem Drug Use Before It Starts

There's an idea out there of what a drug-addled teen is supposed to look like: impulsive, unconscientious, smart, perhaps -- but not the most engaged. While personality traits like that could signal danger, not every adolescent who fits that description becomes a problem drug user. So how do you tell who's who? There's no perfect answer, but researchers report in Nature Communications that they've found a way to improve our predictions -- using brain scans that can tell, in a manner of speaking, who's bored by the promise of easy money, even when the kids themselves might not realize it. According to a recent article in ScienceDaily, that conclusion grew out of a collaboration between a professor of psychology at Stanford, and a professor of medicine at Universitätsklinikum Hamburg Eppendorf. With support from the Stanford Neurosciences Institute's NeuroChoice program, the pair started sorting through an intriguing dataset covering, among other things,...

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