With all this bad news lately, it is nice to have some good news. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that drug use among US teens has hit an all-time low. And that includes alcohol and tobacco.
The drops in drug use are significant. For example, among 12th graders:
- Abuse of prescription pain killers is down 45% over the past 5 years
- The daily use of tobacco dropped from 22% of high school seniors 20 years ago, to 5% today.
- The use of alcohol dropped from a high of 75% in 1975 to 56% today.
The only drug where results are mixed is marijuana. While many age groups show declining use, older teens continue to smoke weed at roughly the same rates. But at least it is not increasing, which many feared would happen after legalization happened in a number of states.
Of course, there is a completely different addiction that has been on the rise, and that is the compulsive use of social media and video games. Maybe kids are just swapping one kind of habit for another?
Also published on Medium.