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Alcohol and Marijuana Puts Teens at Long-Term Mental Deficits

New research has shown that heavy alcohol and marijuana use puts teenagers at risk for long-term mental deficits. The researchers learned that teenagers who had abused alcohol and marijuana scored lower on tests than their peers who did abuse alcohol and marijuana.

The researchers wanted to know if heavy substance abuse caused “neuropsychological deficits” in teenagers that were similar to those already shown in adult alcoholics and drug abusers.

“The worry is that kids who start drinking early, and drinking heavily may be affected for their entire life. The data is just beginning to suggest this is true,” said Robert Thoma, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine.

The study is one of the first to demonstrate cognitive deficits in teenagers with substance abuse problems. The 48 teenagers in the study reported drinking six to 20 drinks a day during a three-month period prior to the last time they drank alcohol. The more alcohol the teenagers consumed, the worse they scored on the tests.

 

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