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Why are affluent kids at higher risk for drug, alcohol abuse?

Many parents mistakenly believe that if they live in an affluent area and their kids go to "good" schools, they are less likely to get involved with drugs and alcohol. However, just about anyone who's grown up in a wealthy area knows that's not necessarily true.

In fact, affluent teens have the cash to buy drugs and access to them in their and their friends' homes that their less-monied peers may not. They may also be more likely to have parents who work long hours and take extended vacations away from their kids, leaving teens largely unsupervised.

Further, wealthy parents can afford to get their kids prescription drugs like Adderall that can easily be abused. Of course, the pressure by high-achieving parents to succeed in school and extracurricular activities and to get into and then do well at a prestigious college can also lead many young people to self-medicate.

Now a university study has backed that up. Researchers looked at over 500 young people throughout the Northeast beginning when they were high school seniors and then throughout college and into their late 20s.

They found "alarmingly high rates of substance abuse" as these kids grew into adults in comparison to the average -- as much as 24 percent higher in women and 40 percent in men. The substances involved included alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and "club drugs" like ecstasy.

The study's author says that while researchers have previously focused on the risk of addiction among children in poverty, there hasn't been has much attention paid to this risk in wealthy kids.

Aside from the obvious dangers that drugs and alcohol can do to young people's health and safety, one conviction for drunk driving or possession of illegal drugs can ruin their chances of getting into the college of their choice or the job of their dreams. If your child is facing charges related to drugs or alcohol, it's essential to get him or her experienced legal representation.

Source: CBS News, "Teens at elite high schools at higher risk of addiction, study finds," Robert Preidt, June 01, 2017

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