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Natural Awakenings

NewsFlash: Study Updates Teen Drug Use

Multiple studies reveal good news in the battle against illicit drugs. Use by America’s teens has dropped more than 23 percent during the last five years, according to the University of Michigan’s new Monitoring the Future study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Declines show up across the board–for marijuana, other drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. “It’s a kind of youth movement for the good,” observes John Walters, director of National Drug Control Policy.

Earlier studies show that people who don’t start using drugs during their teen years are unlikely to develop drug problems later in life. So benefits for society likely include “less addiction, less suffering, less crime, lower health costs, and higher achievement for this upcoming generation,” says Walters.

Now, parents must be on the alert for abuse of over-the-counter and prescription drugs. And hope that successful anti-drug strategies will translate. Partnership for a Drug-Free America reports that 1 in 5 teens ages 12 to 17 say they’ve intentionally abused a prescription drug. As many as 1 in 10 intentionally abuse over-the-counter drugs, such as cough medicines with dextromethorphan. Vicodin and Oxycontin painkillers also top the list.

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

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