"Overall, a teen with a history of TBI is at least twice as likely as a classmate who hasn't suffered a brain injury to drink alcohol, use cannabis or abuse other drugs," said Dr. Michael Cusimano, co-principal investigator of the study and a neurosurgeon at St. Michael's Hospital. "But when you look at specific drugs, those rates are often higher."
A TBI was defined by researchers as any hit or blow to the head that resulted in the teenager being knocked out for at least five minutes or being hospitalized for at least one night due to symptoms associated with the head injury.
The research showed that, in the past 12 months, teens with a history of TBI said they were:
- 3.8 times more likely to have used crystal meth.
- 3.8 times more likely to have used non-prescribed tranquilizers or sedatives.
- 2.8 times more likely to have used Ecstasy.
- 2.7 times more likely to have used non-prescribed opioid pain relievers.
- 2.6 times more likely to have used hallucinogens.
- 2.5 times more likely to have used cocaine.
- 2.5 times more likely to have used LSD.
- 2.1 times more likely to have used non-prescribed ADHD drugs.
The findings were published in The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation.