Krista Lisdahl MedinaIt has often been disputed, but religious involvement does protect young people against drug abuse, according to new research from Brigham Young University. Sociologists Stephen Bahr and John Hoffman analysed data for 13,534 students from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, and 4983 students in a state-wide survey of Utah schools. Individual religiosity was measured by two questions: one asked students how frequently they attended church and the other asked them to rate the importance of religion to them.

After making allowances for family and peer characteristics, and regardless of denomination, the researchers found that those teenagers who were religious were less likely to do drugs, even when their friends were users. They also found that religiosity buffered youths against peer pressure for cigarette smoking and heavy drinking.
However, the study showed that merely belonging to a religious community did not have a significant effect. “Individual religiosity is what makes the difference,” said Bahr. ~ Science Daily, Oct 12

Chronic, heavy marijuana use during adolescence can reduce the power to think, remember and plan, and the effect can last for weeks after coming off the drug, brain research shows. A paper presented to the American Academy of Pediatrics by psychologist Krista Lisdahl Medina said neuro-imaging showed the brains of affected adolescents working harder than they should to perform executive functions such as planning, decision-making or staying focused on a task. Medina said there is evidence that girls may suffer more from these effects of drug abuse. ~ Science Daily, Oct 15


Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is the former deputy editor of MercatorNet