A new study reports that adolescents who take alcohol and marijuana perform poorly in school, are likely to have delinquent behaviors and also experience health problems. There is widespread consumption of these substances among the youth, and parents’ concerns are justified.
The study was carried out by a non-profit organization called the RAND Corporation. It involved a group of 6,509 adolescents aged between 11 and 17 who were part of CHOICE, a drug prevention program. 16 middle schools in LA were involved and students’ performance was evaluated from one grade to the next. The participants were monitored over seven years between 2008 and 2015.
The study revealed that students who take marijuana and alcohol while in the middle school and high school were less prepared for studies, had more delinquent behavior and consequently performed poorly. They were also poorer in mental health than those who did not take these substances.
The study also found that though white youth are more likely to take alcohol and marijuana than black youth, non-white youth were more adversely affected than white youth who consumed the same amount of alcohol and marijuana. Asian and multi-ethnic participants were specifically more affected than white youth. Asian youth, black youth and Hispanic youth were less prepared for academics than white youth, while multi-ethnic youth and Hispanic youth performed poorly compared to white youth.
The time to act is now
This study suggests that alcohol and marijuana intake in the school-going youth should be nipped in the bud (no pun intended), according to Elizabeth D’Amico of RAND. One way to do that is to enhance parental support and encourage the youth to resist temptations to take these substances.
With about 8.7 million youths aged between 12-20 having consumed alcohol in the past month and 6.5% and 14.8% of 8th grade and 10th grade students, respectively, having taken marijuana, the time to act is now. The youth should be sensitized on the dangers of these substances.
Most adolescents consider marijuana to be safer than alcohol, but D’Amico warns them that marijuana is harmful as well, as it may affect brain development and affect performance during adolescence and into adulthood.
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