By Karen Kaplan for Los Angeles Times. A new study of Los Angeles-area kids suggests a specific way to reduce the risk that they will drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs as teenagers — challenge their positive beliefs about marijuana, and start doing it as early as sixth grade.

Why? Compared to 12-year-olds who had negative views of marijuana, 12-year-olds who believed marijuana could help them relax or was otherwise beneficial were significantly more likely to drive under the influence when they were 16. They were also significantly more likely to ride with someone else who was buzzed, drunk or high behind the wheel, according to the study, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

“Youth view marijuana use as less dangerous than drinking,” the study authors wrote. “We must begin to address how changing views of marijuana might increase risk for not only marijuana use, but other behaviors.”

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