Teens are using their smart phones more-- and drugs less

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We’ve consistently heard how bad smartphones are for our kids. 

But the New York Times spoke with several experts that see a silver lining. 

In the same time smartphone use has risen over the past decade, teen drug use has declined. Cigarette, marijuana, cocaine and yes even opiate use is down among teens according to the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Researchers believe the connection between smartphones and drug use deserves a deeper look.

Columbia University substance abuse expert Dr. Silvia Martins already started calling the theory “highly plausible.” He says, “Playing video games [and] using social media, fulfills the necessity of sensation seeking, their need to seek novel activity.” 

National Institute on Drug Abuse director Dr. Nora Volkow says smartphones are “an alternative reinforcer” and “teens can get literally high when playing these games.”

Then there’s David Greenfield who’s the assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. He says “People are carrying around a portable dopamine pump, and kids have basically been carrying it around for the last 10 years.”

 

Time and more research will tell if smartphones are really keeping our kids off drugs, but even then, we say “No phones at the dinner table!”

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