Permissive parents, who feel their teens are old enough to make decisions for themselves, should know that at that stage of mental development, the part of the brain that tells them to experiment with drugs is much more advanced than the part that judges whether or not it would be a smart thing to do.

Lee Dye writes in that adolescence is the worst time in a person’s life to become addicted to drugs, because addiction affects brain development. Psychiatrist Andrew Chambers says that taking drugs during the teenage years “really does make concrete changes in the way your brain operates, in a permanent sense.”

He examined 140 research projects to see if he could link the various stages of adolescent development with the high rate of addiction and found that the earlier people start taking drugs, the harder it is for them to quit. Most people who can’t give up drugs, booze or cigarettes became addicted as teens. And they tried these substances in the first place because adolescent brains are more impulsive and reckless than they will be later, when they mature. But if they start drugs early, their brains may never grow up.

There are things we can learn from drugs?but there’s a difference between drug study and drug addiction.

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