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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sexual Behavior and Substance Abuse

Risky behavior often goes hand and hand with substance abuse, the use of drugs and alcohol tends to cause people to let down their guard having unprotected sex with a number of partners. The number of sex partners young adults have has been linked with their subsequent risk of developing alcohol or marijuana dependence, according to a new study. Researchers found that young women who had more than two or three sex partners when they were 18 to 20 years old were nearly 10 times more likely than those with one or no sexual partner to develop a substance abuse problem by the age 21.

The research was conducted at the University of Otago in New Zealand, during the course of their study they found the risk of developing substance dependence disorders increased in correlation with the more sexual partners one has had.

People having more than two or three partners from age 21 to 25 heightened their risk of addiction at age 26 by sevenfold. Women 32 years old had a nearly 18 times greater risk if they had two or three partners when they were 26 to 31.

When it came to males who had one sex partner from age 18 to 20 they had nearly three times the risk of addiction at age 21. Men who had more than two or three partners increased their risk fourfold.

Dr. Sandhya Ramrakha, the leader of the study, stated in a news release that pubs and bars are locations where a person can easily meet partners. “The role of the alcohol industry in encouraging the view that alcohol is entertainment, targeting young women in particular, is disturbing. Young women are also encouraged to ‘keep up’ with young men in relation to their drinking.” 

The findings appear in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.
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