A new survey from the National Institute on Drug Abuse shows a significant decline in the use of cigarettes, alcohol, steroids, cocaine, heroin, LSD and methamphetamine. The only bad news in the five-year trend is an increase in the use of cough and cold medicines to get high.
Lloyd Johnston, lead researcher from the University of Michigan, said the drug-use increase of the 1990s is on the decline.
"In some sense the epidemic itself carried the seeds of its own destruction," he explained, "because it started to call attention to the hazards of drugs."
That increased attention has resulted in 840,000 fewer kids doing drugs. John Walters, a spokesman for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said several factors played a part.
"Congratulations are in order," he told Family News in Focus, "to a lot of people who have worked very hard, quietly in their homes, in faith communities and schools and community organizations to help kids get on track in greater numbers."
Walters also lauded President Bush for paying attention to the growing problem and encouraging others to as well.
"The president, both as a parent and as a governor, knew a lot about this and made it his priority to use what we know more aggressively," he noted. "This survey shows that he was right and the country is going in a better direction because we’re using that knowledge."
Jim Copple, executive director of the International Institute for Alcohol Awareness, said it proves moms and dads really are the anti-drug.
"Parents, if they’re consistent and persistent in their messaging," he said, "can counter that influence and have a significant role."
This was the first year the survey asked students about the abuse of cough and cold medicines. As a precaution, parents should take inventory of their medicine cabinet and get rid of anything they aren’t taking anymore.