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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

High IQ Drug Abuse: Smart Kids Are Dying

Intelligent people become addicted to drugs.
In fact, they may be more prone to addiction
than those with lower intelligence.

(James White, G. David Batty. Intelligence across childhood in relation to illegal drug use in adulthood: 1970 British Cohort Study. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 2011)

This study is so interesting to me that I chose to write another entry today based on the findings. A longitudinal study conducted in England and published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, (James White and G. David Batty, 2011) found higher IQ’s resulted in greater drug use as a consistent pattern.

The study involved data collected from around 8,000 people. The IQ scores of the participants were measured at the ages of 5 and 10 years, using a validated scale, and information was gathered on self reported levels of psychological distress and drug use at the age of 16, and again at the age of 30 (drug use only) .

Drug use included cannabis; cocaine; uppers (speed and wiz); downers (blues, tanks, barbiturates); LSD (acid); and heroin.

By the age of 30, around one in three men (35.4%) and one in six women (15.9%) had used cannabis, while 8.6% of men and 3.6% of women had used cocaine, in the previous 12 months.

A similar pattern of use was found for the other drugs, with overall drug use twice as common among men as among women.

White and Batty reported when intelligence was factored in, the analysis showed that men with high IQ scores (107 to 158) at the age of 5 were around 50% more likely to have used amphetamines, ecstasy, and several illicit drugs than those with low scores, 25 years later.

The link was even stronger among women, who were more than twice as likely to have used cannabis and cocaine as those with low IQ scores.

The same associations emerged between a high IQ score at the age of 10 and subsequent use of cannabis, ecstasy, amphetamines, multiple drug use and cocaine, although this last association was only evident at the age of 30.

The findings held true, irrespective of anxiety/depression during adolescence, parental social class, and lifetime household income.

The study supports the idea that high intelligence may show that people have an increased vulnerability to develop addiction, possibly because they experience more boredom in their lives and experience suffering at the hands of their peers for being different -- White and Batty said, "either of which could conceivably increase vulnerability to using drugs as an avoidant coping strategy." These people may seek out more innovative and novelty situations as part of these strategies.

Some researchers see intelligent people as likely candidates for addition because addiction is a neurochemical and neuro-cellular condition that starts off in the unconscious, unintelligent, nonspeaking area of the brain. 

Dr. Darryl Inaba, research director for CNS Productions said, "The absolutely nonintellectual brain is where the compulsivity starts within the limbic system and especially the go-switch nuculus
accumbens. So if they (people with high IQ scores) fail to recognize that or if they didn’t know about that, they may assume that they’re too smart to get addicted. They’re not going to be like the dumb kids who get addicted. They’re going to enjoy the marijuana and the alcohol and maybe even heroin and cocaine and be able to cease their use of it if any kind of problems develop, which is not the case with addiction." (Howard La Mere, "Intelligence and Its Relation To Addiction," CNS Addiction Education Blog, November 29 2011)

The Imperative

The public, especially parents, must change their preconception of a young drug dependent or addict from that of a dumb, trouble-making delinquent to a much broader image that includes intelligent people from all social classes and economic levels. Drug addicts cannot be easily categorized by such factors.

Smart, attractive and talented young people
are losing their families, their futures,
and their lives to drug abuse

Especially in the case of deadly opiate use, early detection is vital. Yet, early detection can increase the likelihood of recovery in the case of any drug dependency. The loved ones who think they identify drug use by their children should assume their conjecture is true and even more advanced than they originally believed. When the drug is in control, dependents will be in denial, but they are at the point of needing treatment. Loved ones must help those who abuse drugs by identifying the problem, by stopping all enabling actions, and by helping the victims seek good professional treatment ASAP.

The bottom line is
this disease of addiction
is set to devour our human resources --
the best and brightest are at risk.

Some other factors that may contribute to drug abuse:

  • A family history of substance abuse

  • Depression

  • Low self-esteem

  • Early aggressive behavior

  • Feelings of social rejection

  • Lack of parental supervision

  • Poverty

  • Drug availability

  • Here are some "red flags" for identifying teen drug abuse:

  • A sudden or extreme change in friends, eating habits, sleeping patterns, physical appearance or school performance

  • Lost interest in favorite activities

  • A hostile or uncooperative attitude

  • Visits to pro-drug Web sites

  • Secrecy about actions or possessions

  • An unexplained disappearance of household money

  • Empty drug or medicine containers or drug paraphernalia in your teen's room

  • An unusual chemical or medicine smell on your teen or in your teen's room

  • Source:

    Here is the site of the local Loved Ones Group. Please use this as a resource:

    Does this fit your typical image of a drug abuser? These tragedies have to stop -- please help today.


    Melissa Dawn Short
    05/23/1986 - 06/16/2011

    Our Beautiful Melissa Dawn Short slipped from this fragile life on June 16, 2011 after a long and difficult battle with drug addiction at the young age of 25. She was born on May 23, 1986 to the proud parents, Stan and Jolene Short. She was always her daddy’s little girl and the jewel of her mother’s heart. Although she was in and out of darkness with her addiction, the sunshine of Melissa’s life was her 20 month old daughter Khloe Jo.
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