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Drug and Alcohol Use for U.S. Teens Down in 2016

Between the celebrity deaths and the rather contentious election season, 2016 has been the year that everyone loves to hate. There's still good news to be found out there, especially for the parents of teenagers:

The use of alcohol, marijuana, prescription medications and illicit substances declined among U.S. teens again in 2016, continuing a long-term trend, according to a study released on Tuesday by the National Institutes of Health.

But the research found that high school seniors were still using cannabis at nearly the same levels as in 2015, with 22.5 percent saying that had smoked or ingested the drug at least once within the past month and 6 percent reporting daily use.

"Clearly our public health prevention efforts, as well as policy changes to reduce availability, are working to reduce teen drug use, especially among eighth graders," Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said in a statement accompanying the study results.

"However, when 6 percent of high school seniors are using marijuana daily, and new synthetics are continually flooding the illegal marketplace, we cannot be complacent," Volkow said.

It's always a comfort to know that the eight graders aren't out getting loaded a lot, isn't it?

Parenting never gets enough credit in government studies designed to praise the government, but it is probably a safe bet that it factors in quite a bit. Solid parental involvement has more effect on a kid making good choices than public health prevention efforts.

However it's happening, it is very good news that this is an ongoing trend. The youth of America take a lot of heat these days, some of it deserved, some of it more the fault of parents and educators. Positive news is most welcome.

Knock on wood that the streak will continue in 2017.