Adolescence can be a challenging time. Teens confront pressures from all directions: parents, siblings, friends, enemies, frenemies, crushes, teachers, and most of all, themselves.

The good news is, in order to handle these pressures, teens have the most flexible brains on the planet. Until the brain is fully developed—sometime in the mid-20s—teens soak up knowledge like a sponge. With new information, they can change worldviews. With very little acquaintance, they can form lifelong bonds. This wondrous flexibility is responsible for both the most exciting aspects of adolescent life and its unique risks.

Substance use is one of these risks.

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