In high school, it practically goes without saying that teenagers will experiment with drugs and alcohol, which for the majority of people can be relatively harmless. However, for those with a predisposition for addiction, experimenting with mind altering substances can be a slippery slope - leading to harmful behaviors and potentially years of substance use and abuse.
New research has found that teens who saw people using drugs or alcohol were more likely to engage in antisocial behavior on that same day, MedicalXpress reports. The researchers at Duke University observed that teens “who have a 'risk-taking' gene (called DRD4-7R) associated with sensitivity to substance use exposure” are at the greatest risk.
Using smartphones to respond to survey questions three times daily for a month, 151 teens reported what they were experiencing, according to the article. The researchers compared the participants behavior on days they were around people using mind altering substances, to their behavior on days that they did not witness such activities.
The findings indicated that teens were more likely to engage in antisocial behavior on the days they saw others using drugs or alcohol, the article reports. For the 30 percent of teenagers involved in the study that carried the DRD4-7R gene, the risk was even higher. The findings are published in the journal Development and Psychopathology.
“Past research has shown that children who grow up in families, schools and neighborhoods where alcohol and drugs are frequently used are at risk for behavioral problems later in life, but our findings demonstrate that these effects are immediate,” researcher Candice Odgers of the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy noted in a news release.
If you or a loved one grew up with a heightened exposure to drugs and alcohol, and are active in addiction, please contact Celebrate Hope. We are a Christian drug and alcohol rehab that takes addicts beyond recovery into a daily renewing walk with Christ.