The Teenage Brain Revisited

Dr. Nora D. Volkow, Director at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, recently spoke in May of 2016 at the New York Academy of Science. "Addiction and drugs attack the reward centers we need to survive. They hijack that system by radically disrupting the neurochemical signals to produce constant reward-seeking behavior with no checks or balances from the impulse control center," said Dr. Volkow. "You are at risk of seeking rewards without sound judgement.”

Dr. Volkow also emphasized that prefrontal cortex - the critical brain capacity that makes executive decisions for a person's best interest - is not fully developed until age 25. Yet we have 15 year olds, and even younger, at risk of jeopardizing their developing brains with excessive use of drugs and alcohol. Not only do these chemicals have the power to change the circuitry of a developing adolescent's brain over time, but also extensive or continued use robs adolescents of normal and necessary growth experiences central to identity formation, positive affirmation, family/community connection, and a sense of purpose. 

The key thing we hope to do with Gobi is to foster better communication in families and help teens make better decisions in relation to drugs and alcohol before the "brain hijacking" occurs.