Introduction to the Special Series on Youth Risky Behavior

During the month of September, most parents are preparing their kids for a new school year and anticipating the new people and situations their children might encounter. Along with these thoughts often come concerns about potential new threats to their kids’ well-being. As kids age and develop more independence, they have more opportunities to interact with potential objects of addiction, including both substances, like alcohol and cigarettes, and behaviors, like gambling. Here at The BASIS, we are dedicating the month of September to the topic of youth risky behavior.

Our team of writers will distill four recent scientific studies related to youth risky behavior. Today, STASH reviews a study exploring the factors that predict non-prescription stimulant use among middle and high school students. Are these relatively young kids using stimulants mostly for recreation, or to boost their school performance? Next, The WAGER takes on the issue of adolescents who play social casino games within Facebook and countless available apps. What is the connection between playing these games and gambling for real money, with its potential risks? Our third science review examines drinking among heterosexual and LGB adolescents; stay tuned to The DRAM. Finally, ASHES will review a study exploring whether using e-cigarettes increases adolescents’ risk for smoking in the future.

We will supplement these science reviews with op-eds by leading researchers in the field of youth risky behavior. Dr. Ryan Martin will describe his experience studying risky drinking among young people, and Dr. Heather Wardle will discuss youth engagement in risk behaviors with a focus on the UK gambling environment.

As always, we hope you enjoy and learn from this Special Series.