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Monday, July 4, 2011

It's Your Brain on Drugs Stupid

A new report out from Columbia University's drug czar CASA Columbia surveyed 100 students and found almost half are drinking, taking drugs, smoking cigarettes or a combination of all three. 

Yet I don't see any of this in my home. Am I blind? Am I crazy? Are my kids just not interested? If one in two kids are a mess than what of all my son and daughters alcohol sodden, cigarette smoking,  (well she's a little young) drug ridden friends. Sorry folks haven't seen it. 

Not that I'm denying it happens. I wrote a book about it - I know it does. But CASA Columbia does love to get attention by being alarmists. Pure academic researchers don't agree with them on a lot of things. Judge for yourself. http://www.casacolumbia.org/templates/PressReleases.aspx?articleid=641&zoneid=87

Anyway the point of all this is It's the Teen Brain Stupid. We've been talking about this for over three years. The teen brain isn't finished yet. If it ingests substances it's not supposed too, ones that are meant to alter it's perception and focus, it freaks out. The majority of kids who end up addicted to alcohol and drugs, start that process in middle or high school. That should be the wake-up all. 

Remember that old ad - This is Your Brain on Drugs where they fried an egg. One of the simplest, most effective at getting its point across ads ever. Well what it didn't tell you - because at the time they just didn't know - was that the frying process of your brain will affect you far into your adult life.

Here's an excerpt from the CASA press release:

The CASA report underscores the fact that addiction is a disease with adolescent origins. The underdeveloped teen brain makes it likelier that teens will take risks, including using addictive substances that interfere with brain development, impair judgment and heighten their risk of addiction.

The CASA report reveals that:
  • 75 percent (10 million) of all high school students have used addictive substances including tobacco, alcohol, marijuana or cocaine; 1 in 5 of them meets the medical criteria for addiction.
  • 46 percent (6.1 million) of all high school students currently use addictive substances; 1 in 3 of them meets the medical criteria for addiction.

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