While the crack cocaine epidemic peaked in the late 1980’s, its effects are still causing harm to an estimated 3 million teenagers and young adults exposed to the stimulant in the womb.
They are twice as likely to use tobacco and marijuana at age 15 and develop a substance use disorder at 17 than teens who weren’t exposed to the drug in utero, according to researchers at Case Western Reserve University.
They are also more likely to handle stress in negative ways, especially if mistreated as a child, using fewer problem-solving skills and having less control over their emotions. They’re also more likely to become distracted or disengaged.
These poor coping strategies are typically associated with acting out behaviors: Teens in the study were likely to break rules, fight, show aggression, steal and use drugs, tobacco and alcohol.
At 15 years old, more than 36 percent of these teens had used a drug within the past month; at 17, it…