Starting Substance Use at an Earlier Age Linked to Increased Risk of Addiction

    A new study finds young people who first try marijuana or misuse prescription drugs when they are teens are more likely to develop a substance use disorder than those who wait until they are young adults before their first substance use or misuse.

    Researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found rates of past-year marijuana use disorder were higher among teens than young adults, USA Today reports. Within 12 months of their first marijuana use, almost 11% of adolescents ages 12 to 17 had marijuana use disorder, compared with just over 6% of young adults ages 18 to 25.

    Within 12 months of their first misuse of prescription drugs, 11% of teens had prescription opioid use disorder, compared with 7% of young adults.

    “Though not everyone who uses a drug will develop addiction, adolescents may develop addiction to substances faster than young adults,” Nora Volkow, M.D., NIDA Director and a lead author of the analysis, said in a news release. “This study provides further evidence that delaying substance exposure until the brain is more fully developed may lower risk for developing a substance use disorder.”

    By Partnership Staff
    April 2021

    Published

    April 2021