Webinar - Drug and Alcohol and the Maturing Adolescent Brain


NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use, National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW.


1 hour Webinar recording; Available on demand.


This webinar will provide attendees with an overview of the major changes occurring in the adolescent brain and discuss the implications these changes have for the prevention of drug and alcohol problems. We know that up until the age of 24 the adolescent brain is under heavy construction. Whilst these changes lead to a more efficient, fully developed “adult” brain, there’s evidence to suggest that these relatively late maturation processes also mean that adolescence is a particularly critical period of vulnerability for addiction. In addition, we also know that alcohol and/or drug use can disrupt the normal development of the adolescent brain which has further implications for the misuse of alcohol and drugs, as well as the development of other mental illnesses. These neuroscientific insights into the adolescent brain suggest novel ways for preventing and treating problematic alcohol and/or drug use which will be discussed in detail.

Photo credit to Dierk Schaefer. 


This webinar will lead to:

  1. Knowledge of the maturational processes occurring in the adolescent brain;
  2. An understanding of the effects that drug and alcohol use have on these normal developmental processes; and
  3. Knowledge of novel ways of treating and preventing problematic alcohol and/or drug use that are informed by these neuroscientific advances.

Evidence Base

This webinar was developed by Dr Louise Mewton at the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use, National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW and informed by review of the research evidence on this topic.