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Brain Injuries Linked to Drug Use in Teens

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are linked to a variety of negative behaviors and circumstances. Studies have found connections between these conditions and the development of dementia, as well as incarceration rates. Researchers recently undertook a new study to examine a possible connection between traumatic head injuries and drug use. They concluded that teenagers with TBIs are between two and four times more likely to use illegal drugs than those with no history of brain injury.

The research was published in the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation and featured in an article by the medical website, Health Canal. The study reportedly examined drug use among more than 6,000 Canadian students in ninth through twelfth grades. Students were given a survey, which questioned them about their drug use and history of traumatic brain injury. For the purposes of the study, TBIs were reportedly defined as a strike to the head leading to a knockout of at least five minutes or a night in the hospital for treatment of side effects related to the brain injury. While the survey was able to document links between the two, it did not provide information about whether the drug use or TBI occurred first.

Dr. Robert Mann was the co-principal investigator of the study. He is quoted in the article as stating, “These data show us that there are important links between adolescent TBI and substance use.” He continued, “While we can’t yet say which one causes the other, we know this combination of factors is something to watch because it can have a serious negative impact on young people as they develop.”

The Study Findings

The study specifically found that among teenagers with TBIs:

–Crystal meth usage was almost four times more likely to occur
–Ecstasy usage was almost three times more likely to occur
–Hallucinogen usage was almost three times more likely to occur
–Cocaine usage was two and half times more likely to occur
–LSD was two and a half times more likely to occur

The usage of non-prescribed ADHD drug usage was twice as likely to occur
The study additionally found that teens with a history of TBI are also twice as likely to smoke at least one cigarette on a daily basis. They are also twice as likely to binge drink, which is defined as consuming more than four alcoholic drinks in one session.

According to Dr. Mann, researchers plan to additionally study the direction of the behaviors, to determine whether the TBI or drug use occurred first. They reportedly want “to pinpoint when and how this relationship starts.”

A TBI is a serious condition that can result in lifelong consequences for the injured party. If this condition is caused by the actions of another individual, an experienced attorney can assist in determining liability and securing adequate compensation.

If your teenager is suffering with a severe brain injury, contact the experienced attorneys at Levin & Perconti.

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