First use to dependence, Study looks at Marijuana, Alcohol and Cocaine

A new study presents the highest risk for dependence on alcohol is about age 20-21 years but that for marijuana it is about 17 years. The peak for cocaine dependence was seen to occur at about age 24-26 years and was estimated to be between 18.4-24.5%. Additionally, the authors noted that 5-6% of cocaine users become dependent in the first year of use and 15- 16% had become dependent within 10 years of first use, For those who use marijuana at least once, the probably of becoming dependent was 9% by age 30 though most cases of dependence occurred when users were 15-25 years old. For those who used alcohol at least once, the “estimated cumulative probability of alcohol dependence by age 55 was about 20%… Most cases met that criteria, however, between the ages of 15 and 35 years.”

Source:  Wagner and Anthony, First Drug Use to Drug Dependence: Developmental Periods of Risk for Dependence upon Marijuana,
Cocaine, and Alcohol” , Neuropsychopharmacology 2002, Vol. 26, No. 4

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