As need for sensation-seeking, and for independence,

As stated by Matt Richtel, in his article “Are Teenagers Replacing Drugs with Smartphones?”, drug use among American teenagers is decreasing and has been doing so for the last decade, without a definitive cause for such a drop. The article offers two theories on why we are seeing a decline in drug and alcohol use among 12-17 year olds. The first theory is that the public movements against drugs and cigarette smoking are working, finally, and with the decline in cigarette smoking, the gateway to other drugs has declined as well. The second theory is that the smartphone and technology are filling a void that drugs previously filled. While smartphones have become a staple of everyday life, it is only within the past ten years or so that they have become common in society. This means that the research into how they affect the brain is really just beginning. Researchers have found that technology does fill a need for sensation-seeking, and for independence, in the way drugs have done before. The survey “Monitoring the Future”, which is a government funded study that has reported for the last 40 years, found that with the prominence of marijuana use, the actual use among 12-17 years olds has decreased. In fact, all drug use for that age range has decreased within this past year offering a more significant decline than ever before. The Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Dr. Volkow, in light of the findings, theorizes that playing games on smartphones can, essentially, get a teen high. The receptors of dopamine in the brain may act in similar ways to smartphones as it does to drug use. On the account of Richtel, while there is no definitive proof in the scientific fields of these theories there is causality. The research of teens and drug use is related to implementing more studies to see, not only why drug use is down, but also how tablets and smartphones are affecting the brain in the long run.