Abusing drugs and using them in any way that isn’t their intended use, is damaging to our health.  We all know that, and some drugs are worse than others. But what about the lasting effects or consequences drugs have on us — especially during those developmental stages of our adolescence?

There are countless case research studies and tests conducted every year to explore the long-lasting effects that drugs have on our brains.

Those effects can affect our adult lives and the ways in which we do things, handle situations, and choose to live our lives.

Tests Don’t Lie

Although substance use among teens and young adults has significantly dropped in recent years, it still remains an important public health concern.

Substance use includes cigarettes, alcohol, and drug use.

According to the NIDA, “Chronic use of some drugs can cause long-lasting changes in the brain, which may lead to paranoia, depression, aggression, and hallucinations”.

Known drugs that cause mental health issues are:

Adolescents are still showing a higher rate of experimental use than that of adults, and it’s been reported that the initiation of substance use usually peaks in late adolescence and young adulthood. (Johnston et al. 2006a, b; Kandel and Yamaguchi 1999)

It also shows that a lifetime of substance abuse nearly doubles between the ages of 8th grade and 12th grade.

This would conclude that a very large portion of young adults begin using during their high school years.

The higher rate of substance abuse in adolescents (12-18 year olds) and young adults (18-25 years olds) may be associated with a larger amount of initial substance experimentation by those in the 12-18 year old range.

According to an article on Medscape:

Adolescent substance use may influence adult outcomes by way of affecting the adolescent’s functioning across several areas, including psychological… and social problems.

These wide-ranging impairments in adolescent functioning can, in turn, interfere with successful acquisition of adult roles such as marriage, parenting, and gainful employment.”

Further Studies to Be Conducted

In May, experts — which consisted of key staff from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) — gathered at a workshop that was being held by a panel also known as the CRAN – the Collaborative Research on Addiction.

They have conducted an extensive collaboration of studies to find more information regarding neurodevelopmental consequences in those adolescents and substance abuse.

You can find their commentary here: http://addictionresearch.nih.gov/summary-expert-panel-meeting