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NYU study compares consequences of teen alcohol and marijuana use
Date:9/2/2014

Growing public support for marijuana legalization in the U.S. has led to public debate about whether marijuana is "safer" than other substances, such as alcohol. In January, President Obama also publically stated he is not convinced that marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol. Despite the recent shift in views toward marijuana, the harms of use as compared to alcohol use are not well understood.

Now a new study "Adverse Psychosocial Outcomes Associated with Drug Use among US High School Seniors: A Comparison of Alcohol and Marijuana," by researchers affiliated with New York University's Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDUHR) published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, (on-line ahead of print) September 1, 2014, analyzed data from a nationally representative sample of high school seniors in the Monitoring the Future (MTF) study. MTF is a nation-wide ongoing annual study of the behaviors, attitudes, and values of American secondary school students. Students were asked to indicate whether they experienced various adverse psychosocial outcomes resulting from use of each substance. The authors analyzed data from 7,437 students (modal age: 18) from cohorts assessed from 2007 through 2011 who reported using alcohol or marijuana in their lifetime.

"The paucity of research is of particular public health concern as alcohol and marijuana are the two most commonly used psychoactive substances among adolescents," said Joseph J. Palamar, PhD, MPH, a CDUHR affiliated researcher and an assistant professor of Population Health at NYU Langone Medical Center (NYULMC). "Nearly half of high school seniors have used marijuana in their lifetime and over two-thirds have used alcohol, but few studies have compared adverse psychosocial outcomes of alcohol and marijuana directly resulting from use."

"The most alarming finding was that alcohol use was highly associated with unsafe driving, especially among frequent drinkers,
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Contact: Christopher James
christopher.james@nyu.edu
212-998-6876
New York University
Source:Eurekalert

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