Ever since a federal study was published last year showing that teenage drug use is on the decline across the country, researchers have been on a mission to find out exactly what has caused America’s youth to lose interest in the feel good effects of illicit substances.
According to a recent report from the New York Times, some of those scientific minds have formulated a theory, one that suggests that teens may not be doing as many drugs these days because they are too preoccupied with their smartphones and other electronic devices.
Indeed, while it may sound utterly ridiculous to consider that smartphones are what is keeping a growing number of teenagers on a sober path, it is a concept that Nora Volkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, does not believe is too far fetched.
In fact, she said on Tuesday that she plans to assemble a team of scholars in the coming weeks to delve into the idea of interactive technology preventing drug abuse.
“Something is going on,” Volkow said, adding that phone use seems to be a substitute for getting high.
The latest “Monitoring the Future” survey, which was published last December, shows high school kids are using less marijuana now than they were a decade ago. The study also found that fewer teens are messing with cocaine, hallucinogens and heroin.
Across the board, it seems teenagers today are not as enthused about the prospect of getting ripped out of their minds on dope. Researchers say this phenomenon is quite possibly connected to their wild-eyed obsession with what is happening in the world of social media and video games.
Dr. Silva Martins at Columbia University, a substance abuse expert presently exploring the potential connection between the internet and teenager drug use, told the Times that the latest theory is “highly plausible.”
“Playing video games, using social media, that fulfills the necessity of sensation seeking, their need to seek novel activity,” Martins said. But “It still needs to be proved,” the doctor concluded.
Interestingly, a school counselor with almost 20-years of experience told the Times that while he has noticed a decrease in teenage drug use throughout the years, he said “video game addiction” is a real concern.
I am “more likely to have a challenge with a student who has a video game addiction than I am a student who is addicted to drugs; I can’t say that for the beginning of my career” he said.