Can smartphones replace need for drugs in teens?

Could smartphones replace drugs for teens?

PLYMOUTH, Minn. -- Can the use of smartphones explain the continual decline in illicit drug use by high schoolers around the nation?

According to the New York Times, Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, says she will research this theory over the next few months to try and better understand why teen drug use has hit decades-low rates.

Every year the University of Michigan does this “Monitoring the Future” study funded by the federal government, looking at high school drug use around the country.

And in 2016, illicit drug use—other than marijuana—was at the lowest use levels in the study's 40-year history.

Volkow told the Times that “teens can literally get high when playing these games.”

This smartphone theory has its supporters and its skeptics, like Dr. Joe Lee, child psychiatrist, addiction expert and medical director of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation Youth Continuum.

“For the high-risk kids that I see, it's really an and-equation,” said Lee. “So they do a lot of Pokemon Go and social media and continue to use substances. They don't use one for the other or substitute that way.”

© 2017 KARE-TV


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