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Does Brain Injury Lead to Drug Use?

Home > Ernst Law Group Blog > Does Brain Injury Lead to Drug Use?

Let’s face it: Teenagers really aren’t the smartest people. Thanks to inexperience in life in addition to hormones going crazy, dumb decisions are a way of life for teens. We all went through the phase. We played contact sports without the proper safety equipment, drove too fast down the road and make other choices that can lead to brain injury.

Concussions are prevalent in our society, but the after effects can be devastating. They can cause memory loss, a change in behavior and other issues. However, a recent study has shown a new side effect: drug use. Read on to learn more about this problem.

What the Study Found

The study was conducted by a team of doctors in Canada: Michael D. Cusimano, MD, PhD, a neurosurgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital, and Robert E. Mann, PhD, director of the Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey in Canada. They found that, for teenagers who had suffered traumatic brain injury, they were were twice as likely to abuse drugs. Specifically, they were more likely to smoke cigarettes and cannabis, plus use meth, LSD, cocaine, sedatives, ADHD medicine and drink.

As Dr. Cusimano explained, it causes a vicious cycle. “On top of the other health consequences, substance abuse increases the odds of suffering an injury that could result in a traumatic brain injury. And using some of these substances may also impair recovery after injury. People should take every brain injury seriously because, as this research shows, the immediate and long-term effects can alter lives.”

The Specifics of the Problem

For the study, traumatic brain injury was defined as either being admitted to the hospital overnight for the injury, or being knocked out for at least 5 minutes. They looked at more than 6,300 teenagers in high school. They found that teens with a history of TBI were:

  • almost 4 times as likely to use non-prescribed tranquilizers or sedatives, as well as crystal meth;
  • 2 times as likely to use opioids, ecstasy, LSD, cocaine and non-prescribed ADHD medicine; and
  • 2.5 times as likely to smoke cigarettes or binge drink.

Though concrete causation between serious concussions and drug use has not been found, the connection is pretty clear. If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury in San Luis Obispo, be on the lookout for symptoms of drug abuse. If it was caused because of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the Ernst Law Group today for a free case evaluation.

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