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Smart Kids Do Not Necessarily Avoid Drugs and Alcohol

Update Date: Sep 14, 2013 10:37 AM EDT

When it comes to drugs and alcohol use, parents often claim that their children are smart enough to know not to touch those substances. Even though their children might be smart, a new study suggests that being smarter does not mean that they will avoid trying alcohol and drugs. This study found that early boomers could be at a higher risk of becoming heavy drinkers.

For this study, the research team monitored 3000 healthy Finnish people who were fraternal or identical twins. The team concentrated on groups of twins who were different from one another in terms of their verbal development during childhood and their alcohol consumption during adulthood. The researchers found that the twin who was verbally more developed, such as speaking earlier or reading faster, was twice as likely than the other twin to be drinking more when they reached 18-years-old. Twins that started speaking more were four times more likely to be drunk at least once a month than the twins who spoke less. The researchers acknowledged the fact that the drinking they observed was not out of control. They simply found that people who develop faster drink more.

"Social drinking in many countries and non-problematic drinking is more frequent and common among people with higher education," Antti Latvala, the lead author of the study said according to TIME. Latvala is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki in Finland.

The researchers theorized that even though the twins that developed faster drank more than the twins who developed slower, the twins were not as risk for alcohol or drug abuse due to their intelligence. Previous studies have found that people with higher IQ (intelligence quotient) and higher education are less likely to abuse alcohol. This study did confirm those previous findings. However, the researchers did find that in some cases, the risk of overdoses, drunk driving, and other injuries did increase in the twins that drank more.

The study was published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

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