In October 2018 researchers from the USA published the results of their study to assess whether the neurocognitive impairment observed in children who had been exposed to prenatal cocaine or other drugs was still present during adolescence and whether substance use (tobacco, alcohol, marijuana) by adolescents was also associated with neurocognitive impairment. A total of 180 adolescents exposed to prenatal cocaine or other drugs and 174 adolescents not exposed were included in the study. At the age of 15.5 years each adolescent underwent cognitive testing. In addition, assessments of prenatal exposure to cocaine, alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco were undertaken together with the level of current substance use in the adolescents themselves. Results showed that adolescents exposed to prenatal cocaine had reduced reasoning skills and visual attention. In addition, those adolescents exposed to prenatal alcohol had diminished verbal and working memory as well as visual and auditory attention. A further analysis revealed that adolescents currently using tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana also had diminished attention.
Singer LT et al. Prenatal and concurrent cocaine, alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco effects on adolescent cognition and attention. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2018 Oct 1;191:37-44