Story at a glance
The study measured survey responses of nearly 12,000 9- and 10-year-olds to evaluate their curiosity about certain substances, such as alcohol, tobacco and marijuana.
Parents involved in the survey were asked questions based around household rules and a specific substance’s availability in the home.
Around 35 percent said their child may have easy access to alcohol.
More than a third of children could have easy access to alcohol in their homes, according to parents involved in a new study.
The study measured survey responses of nearly 12,000 9- and 10-year-olds through a national project called the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study to evaluate their curiosity about certain substances, such as alcohol, tobacco and marijuana. Parents involved in the survey were asked questions based around household rules and a specific substance’s availability in the home.
Around 35 percent of parents surveyed said their child may have easy access to alcohol, while around 7 percent said their child could have access to tobacco.
Close to 3 percent of children surveyed said they already know someone who uses one of the three.
Researchers said they were surprised by the number of parents who had not made specific rules to let their children know if they were allowed to use a particular substance. They noted that Black parents were far more likely than others to have set guidelines about the use of tobacco, alcohol and marijuana.
The study found that children were especially curious about the trio of substances if they were available in the home or if there were no rules.
“We were very surprised by the percentage of parents – more than 25% of the entire group — who hadn’t made any explicit rules about substance use for children this age,” said Meghan Martz, the paper’s lead author and professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Michigan Medicine.
“Compared to all other race/ethnicity groups, Black parents were the most likely to have made rules against substance use, suggesting this subgroup in particular may be using early protective strategies,” Martz added.
Martz said the age a child is exposed to these substances could carry with it negative consequences in the future, especially in brain development and functioning.
“Their household environments and messaging from parents can play a major role at this age, while the influence of peers will become more important over time,” Martz concluded.
The study was published in the June issue of Drug & Alcohol Dependence Reports.
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