Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Survey: Teens Wising Up About Tobacco, Drugs

Fewer kids aged 12-17 are using tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drugs, according to a government survey released Sept. 7. Cigarette smoking in this age group shows the strongest decline, from 13 per cent to 10.8 per cent between 2002 and 2005. Illicit drug use dropped from 11.6 per cent to 9.9 per cent during the same short period. Alcohol use dropped about one per cent to 16.5.

That's the good news. The bad news is that one out of ten teenagers, more or less, is still using nicotine or illegal drugs and about one out of six is using alcohol. This, despite about 80 per cent of kids having been exposed to "anti" messages in or outside of school.

There's a lot more bad news also in the full report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), available online. National averages from all age groups showed no major changes. About 126 million Americans used alcohol in the past month -- 52 per cent, up a tick from last year. About 71 million Americans used tobacco in the past month, which is about 29 per cent, down a hair from last year. About 20 million (8 per cent) used an illicit drug, unchanged.

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