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Survey: Fewer teens using drugs


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NEW YORK (CNN) -- The number of teenagers abusing drugs has fallen by 10 percent over the five-year period from 1998 to 2003, according to a new report released Wednesday from The Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

According to the data, around 46 percent of teens surveyed said they had used marijuana, tobacco, LSD, methamphetamines, Ecstasy or alcohol in 2003, a 10 percent drop from 1998.

"More and more teens are deciding not to use drugs. Clearly, more young people believe that the risks outweigh the benefits," the group's president Steve Pasierb said in a statement.

The nonprofit antidrug organization has tracked drug use and drug-related attitudes since the mid-1980s. They questioned more than 7,200 teens for the survey.

The report cited the significant drop in the number of teens using Ecstasy.

Ecstasy, also known as the "love drug" in social circles, was used by 25 percent fewer teens in 2003 compared with the height of its use two years before. This decrease amounts to 770,000 fewer teens, according to the study.

"The Ecstasy threat, however, remains," Pasierb said. "In 2003, 2 million teenagers in America reported trying this drug at least once in their lives. We can -- and we must -- kick Ecstasy while it's down, and kick it down further."

A critical concern in the antidrug effort is parent-child communication, according to the study. The study shows that only one in three teens learn the perils of drug abuse at home.

And although the decrease in substance abuse is welcome, new drugs and new fads are always developing, the group warned.

This year, the survey discovered that the teens questioned were not as apt to recognize the dangers of the misuse of inhalants and prescription drugs without a doctor's recommendation.

Twenty-one percent of teens surveyed said they had consumed prescription drugs in order to get high. The organization plans to add inhalant abuse to next year's survey.

The Partnership for a Drug-Free America's survey was conducted under grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


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