Harvard Health Blog

Adolescence: A high-risk time for substance use disorders

By: Sharon Levy, MD, MPH, Contributor, and Siva Sundaram, Contributor Teens need to explore and challenge themselves to grow into independent adults, which sometimes involves taking risks. It can be a source of consternation and frustration for parents. But as it turns out, the adolescent brain is “deliberately” set up for risk-taking. The prefrontal cortex — the part of the brain involved in “executive functions” that support careful decision-making (like self-monitoring and impulse control)…

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