These days, when there are news reports about traumatic brain injury (TBI), it’s almost always related to football. And while one of the effects of TBI is an increased risk of using drugs and alcohol (especially for teens), this post isn’t really about that (but this post is).
This post is about the turf TBIs and drugs share—the developing teen brain.
The Developing Teen Brain—What Makes It Special Puts You at Risk
We’ve talked a lot about why drug use is so dangerous in your teen years—that it raises your risk for being addicted. (Here’s a great explanation.) The teen brain is still developing—growing. This makes it more flexible, more impressionable; so what you do now has a big impact on who you become as an adult. Like clay being molded before it hardens, like a computer being programmed, you are wiring your brain.
In 2014 more than 47,000 Americans died from a drug overdose. The CDC reports that drug-related death rates in Appalachia and the Southwest were especially high, but in almost every county in the country, the numbers are rising. Treatment programs are expensive, sometimes not easily accessible and often not successful. Political leaders of both parties have stressed the toll that drug addiction is taking on communities and, at times, in their own families. President Obama has pledged to step up support and so have many state and local officials. Please join us for an update on the rising drug addiction crisis and the new efforts to address it.
“New Efforts To Address America’s Growing Addiction Crisis”. Listen to a archive copy of the Diane Rehm Show discussing the addiction crisis.