Disturbing new links to early substance abuse from a study that was just published in the October issue of Psychological Science. It tracked “1,037 children from the age of three until 32.”
"Children who try drugs or alcohol before age 15 run a greater risk of being substance-dependent as adults, contracting sexually transmitted diseases, dropping out of school or being convicted of a crime."
"Girls who dabble in drugs and alcohol early on are more likely to become pregnant before they are 21."
"Children who tried alcohol or drugs early on “were two to three times more likely than non-early-exposed adolescents to be substance dependent, to have herpes infection, to have had an early pregnancy, and to have failed to obtain educational qualifications."
"Youngsters who were exposed to drugs and alcohol before 15 also had “significantly more criminal convictions” than those who were not."
"Half the children who dabbled with drink and drugs early on had no prior history of behavior issues, the study found."
“Findings from this study are consistent with the message that early substance use leads to significant problems in adolescents’ future lives, said the study’s lead author, Candice Odgers of the University of California, Irvine."