Rates of teen substance abuse are on the way down…

Good news! According to the latest report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a branch of the Department of Health and Human Services, more teens in the U.S. are making the right choices. The survey included over 70,000 people, and in the 12-17 age bracket, there were some noticeable improvements between the years 2002-2013. Some of the more promising stats include:

-Tobacco use is at an all time low, dropping from 14 percent to just under 8 percent

-Alcohol use is also down, from almost 13 percent to 11.6 percent

-Illicit drug abuse among teens dropped from around 12 percent to just under 9 percent

Still a ways to go, but what a great way to put a positive spin on a substance abuse unit. Have students look through the detailed report, conduct some research, and then come up with some theories about what could be leading to the decline. Could be the new brain research coming out, the fear of a negative digital footprint, or just the fact that they’ve got something better to do, but either way, it’s positive peer pressure on a national scale.

For the full report including easy to read tables, go to SAMSHA.org, or check out some of the highlights in this article from CBS News.

And for some great examples of what teens are now up to instead, check out the new advocacy campaign Natural High, or the always awesome AbovetheInfluence.com


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The secret to fitness? Find something you like. Find other people who like it. Do it together. It doesn’t have to be a sport. Go