Teens who vape more likely to use pot later
Teens who vape or use hookah are more likely to use marijuana later, study finds
Adolescents who use e-cigarettes (vaping) or hookah (water pipes for flavored tobacco) are 3.6 to 4 times more likely to begin or regularly use marijuana two years later compared to those who do not use these tobacco products. Moreover, vaping or using hookah in early adolescence more than doubles the odds that teens will regularly use both tobacco and marijuana by mid-adolescence.
Researchers surveyed adolescents in 10 Los Angeles high schools when they were age 14 and two years later. They found an association between those who never used marijuana at age 14 (2,668 freshmen) but who vape or used hookah and the initiation or regular use of marijuana by the time students reached age 16.
The study was published in the journal Pediatrics.
Risk-taking, antisocial teens 5 times more likely to die young
One in twenty adolescents with serious conduct or substance use problems is five times more likely to die by his or her 30s than their peers without such problems, finds a new study from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
The researchers decided to do this study after following up on another one, the Genetics of Antisocial Drug Dependence study that began in 1993. With an average follow-up age of 32.7 years, more than 4 percent of the research subjects had died compared to 1 percent of controls. Their siblings also had higher mortality rates. Deaths were most common from substance use problems, then traffic crashes, suicides, and those resulting from assaults.
For this study, researchers looked at the death rates of 1,463 teens who had been referred to counseling for substance use problems and/or conduct disorder, 1,399 of their siblings, and 904 teens as controls. Conduct disorder is “a mental health disorder characterized by rule-breaking, aggression toward others, property destruction, and deceitfulness or thievery.”
The researchers were shocked to discover that conduct disorder was an even more potent factor for premature death than substance use disorder.
Driving stoned: Massachusetts standard needed
Massachusetts public safety officials “see the problem of stoned driving coming at them like a freight train.” The state introduced a public safety campaign to reverse the belief of many that “I drive better when I’m high.” But the undersecretary for Public Safety and Security said at a news conference introducing the campaign, “It you’re high or stoned, you’re not a safe driver.”
Other legalization states have seen increases in traffic fatalities of people driving stoned. In Colorado, for example, fatalities in which drivers tested positive for THC rose from 18 in 2013, before full legalization began, to 77 in 2016. A survey of drivers who reported using marijuana in the past month in Colorado and Washington found that 43.6 percent admitted to driving under the influence.
A more recent report, conducted by the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice, finds that 73 percent of some 4,000 drivers charged with driving under the influence tested positive for marijauna; half were over that state’s legal limit of THC in the blood. And 53 percent admitted they smoked pot within two hours of getting behind the wheel, according to SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana).
The Colorado report notes, “Nationally, drug detection in fatally-injured drivers with toxicology results has been steadily increasing, from 27.8 percent in 2005 to 32.8 percent in 2008, to 44.0 percent in 2016.”
A Massachusetts special commission is beginning to grapple with how to deal with the complexities of drugged driving, especially driving under the influence of marijuana. There is no equivalent roadside tool like the breathalyzer for marijuana-impaired driving. Many drivers consume both marijuana and alcohol but once a fatally injured driver tests positive for alcohol, testing for the presence of THC is several times more expensive and often not done. The commission’s report about how to deal with the problem is due in January next year.