Study: Teen drinking and drug use is down

E-cigarette use has rapidly increased, however

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Good news for parents: a new report says there’s been a decrease in drug use and binge drinking among teens.

According to the National Institutes of Health, 20% of high school seniors have reported binge drinking in the past two weeks. That represents an improvement from 25% five years ago.

Six percent of high school seniors abused prescription painkillers in 2013, down from 9.5% in 2004. The only category that has a dramatic increase is the number of teens trying e-cigarettes.

Eva-Qunby Johnson of Northampton told 22News that she can see that has become a trend. “I’ve noticed a couple of kids that stopped smoking packs of cigarettes and started smoking e-cigarettes because they can do it more conveniently; it doesn’t have smoke,” Johnson said.

Smith College student Emily Coffin, however, questioned whether students were really turning away from drugs, or just changing their habits. “I think that there’s a big shift away from drinking to marijuana in high school lately, and even when I was in high school,” Coffin said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of teens smoking e-cigarettes has tripled since 2011, while tobacco use has gone down. Health officials want teens to remember that e-cigarettes do contain nicotine, which could lead to addiction.

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