Use of alcohol or drugs is harmful not just for you, but for your next generation too.
Use of alcohol or marijuana in one phase of life can affect the next generation, even long after an individual has stopped using, according to a study by the University of Washington’s Social Development Research Group. The key finding was the use of drugs by the parents at any time, past of present, can influence the child’s use of drugs and his overall health.
This study is based on a subset of the original participants who have become parents, and has linked parents’ past use of marijuana to their children’s use of and attitudes toward alcohol and marijuana, other problem behaviour, and school achievement.
The study involving parents began in the 1980s when the now-adults were in fifth grade at several Seattle elementary schools. Researchers have followed the participants ever since. In 2002, when the participants were 27, the Researchers recruited those who had become parents and began interviewing their children about alcohol beginning at age 6, and marijuana starting at age 10. To date, 360 children completed interviews between the ages of 10 and 20.
Children and teens of chronic users were most likely to use alcohol and marijuana themselves, as researchers had predicted. Compared to the children of nonusers, children of adults in the “adolescent-limited” group were more than 2.5 times as likely to use marijuana and 1.8 times as likely to use alcohol. This was true even after parents’ current marijuana use was accounted for. In comparison, children of chronic users were nearly 4.5 times as likely to use marijuana, and 2.75 times as likely to use alcohol, as children of nonusers.
Chronic users had the worst outcomes in terms of health and quality of life, Epstein added: Poor mental health, lower academic outcomes, less financial stability and greater tendency of criminal and/or risky behaviours were associated with frequent, lifetime marijuana use.