A study among US teens regarding alcohol and cannabis use shows differing attitudes relating to the negative effects of both. The study, which was conducted by researchers at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, seems to indicate that teens do not believe that marijuana use is as dangerous as alcohol use.

What makes this particular study different is that researchers did not survey students about both substances simultaneously. One group was surveyed about alcohol, the other about cannabis. The same questions were asked to both groups relating to their particular substances. A few of the key results are as follows:

  • 97% of respondents had used alcohol, 60% had used marijuana
  • alcohol users reported more unsafe driving and less emotional stability
  • cannabis users reported being more likely to be affected by bad influences
  • cannabis users reported more trouble in their relationships with superiors
  • alcohol users reported more trouble in the relationships with peers
  • 6% of cannabis users said use of the drug led to regrettable behaviour, just under 25% of the alcohol users responded likewise. 

Overall, the perception among cannabis users is that their substance of choice is largely harmless. They do not acknowledge that it can affect their driving, nor do they seem to realise it affects personal relationships with peers. Relationships with superiors are affected only inasmuch as cannabis is illegal and, therefore, poses a conflict with authority figures.

Alcohol users, on the other hand, seem to acknowledge the potential damage alcohol consumption can cause. Yet they also say that alcohol consumption is a normal part of society that almost becomes obligatory in adulthood. Such perceptions do not exist among cannabis users.

Researchers were quick to point out that the study followed high school seniors between 2007 and 2011. Therefore, the results do not accurately measure cannabis use in Colorado and California, where recreational use was legalised after the conclusion of the study. Researchers also say the data clearly demonstrates the need for parents to keep their teens away from both substances.

Unnecessary Influence

From our perspective, the most alarming statistic from this study is the 97% of respondents who said they had used alcohol. This study dealt with 17 and 18-year-olds in a country where the legal drinking age in most states is 21. It is scary to think what the alcohol consumption might be among kids between the ages of 12 and 16. With that much alcohol flowing in the US, it is safe to assume the problem is just as severe in the UK.

The American researchers pointed out the prevalence of alcohol in society by citing sports as an example. They said it is nearly impossible to attend a sporting event without participating in alcohol consumption. Is the same thing true here? If so, it seems like our teens are being exposed to unnecessary influence where alcohol is concerned.

No matter where one goes in Europe or North America, alcohol seems to be part of everything we do. From sporting events to parties to a relaxing day on the beach, it is challenging to go more than a few minutes without seeing someone holding a drink in his or her hand. Is it any wonder that 97% of the surveyed teens reported using alcohol?

At Addiction Helper, we understand how serious the drug and alcohol problem is in Europe. We know how prevalent drinking is here in the UK. We are here to help, if you know you have a drink or drug problem. Please contact us for advice, referrals, and a comprehensive evaluation of your circumstances. Our services are free of charge. Stay informed about all addiction discussion topics, because they will show you the current state of the war against drugs and other addictions.

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