Teens at Elite High Schools May Face Increased Addiction Risk as Young Adults

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Teens who attend elite high schools may face an increased risk of addiction as young adults compared with national norms, a new study suggests.

Researchers assessed more than 500 students from affluent communities starting when they were high school seniors through age 27.

They found rates of addiction to drugs or alcohol among 19 to 24 percent of women by age 26—three times the national average—and 23 to 40 percent among men—twice the national average.

The researchers said possible reasons for the increased addiction rate include pressure to succeed, having the money needed to buy drugs, alcohol and high-quality fake IDs, widespread peer approval of substance use, and parents’ lack of awareness, HealthDay reports.

“Paradoxical though it may seem, these ostensibly privileged youth, many of who start experimenting early and often with drinking and drugs, could well be among the groups at highest risk for alcoholism and addiction in adulthood,” study author Suniya Luthar of Arizona State University said in a news release.

The study appears in the journal Development and Psychopathology.

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