WASHINGTON -- Youth smoking and drug abuse declined again this year, concludes a federal study that also found progress over the last decade in efforts to persuade teens to avoid cigarettes and illicit substances.
The smoking rate among younger teens is half what it was in the mid-1990s, and drug use by that group is down by one-third, says the University of Michigan study, which was done for the National Institute on Drug Abuse and released yesterday. Less dramatic strides have been made among older teens.
Bush administration officials cited the study as a sign of progress in reducing teen drug abuse.
Altogether, gains in 2004 over 2003 were modest. Researchers were bothered by increases in the use of inhalants, such as glue, aerosols, and the pain-control narcotic OxyContin. Use of most other drugs declined or held steady.
Researchers said they are concerned that use of inhalants, which are easily accessible to children, may rebound unless children are warned about the grave dangers they pose.