Participating in sports may have many benefits, but it also raises the chances adolescents will abuse alcohol, according to a new review of the evidence by Canadian researchers.
They analyzed 17 past studies and also found most showed that kids who participate in sports are less likely to use illicit drugs other than marijuana.
The team searched various databases and found 17 previous studies that followed people over time and were published from 1982 through 2012. All but one of the studies took place in the United States.
Overall, the 17 studies indicate that participation in sports was associated with less illegal drug use, other than marijuana. The association with marijuana use wasn't clear. They also found that alcohol use was greater among students who engage in sports, according to the results published in Addictive Behaviors.
"For a lot of young people, being in sports strengthens who they are," Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Partnership at Drugfree.org told Reuters Health. He was not involved in the study.
"Sports can be a positive protective factor in a young person's life because of all those great things - structure, goal setting, fair play and achievement," Pasierb said, "But it's not a silver bullet."