TEENS: The good news is that an annual study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse conducted by the University of Michigan found that fewer teens overall drink alcohol or use illegal drugs than in past years.
The bad news is that some teams are turning to legal drugs such as painkillers, mood stimulants and even cough syrup or glue to get high. The study revealed that as many as 1 in every 14 high school students has confessed to using cold medicine or opioids "fairly recently" to achieve a high.
This important study also discovered that up to 10 percent of high school seniors abuse the prescription painkiller Vicodin, often stealing it from medicine cabinets in their home or neighborhood. The study encouraged parents who no longer are taking prescription pills to throw them away.
Marijuana remained the single most-abused drugs among teens, although its use has dropped slightly. Over 11 percent of eighth-graders reported using it, compared to 25 percent of 10th graders and 31 percent of high school seniors. One-third of eighth-graders admitted that at some time in their lives they had consumed alcohol, compare to half of all 10th graders and two-thirds of the surveyed high school seniors. Yes, some states within the U.S.A. have legalized the recreational use of marijuana for those 21 and older, but in many states its use remains illegal entirely. Also, it is currently illegal in all 50 states for minors to use marijuana recreationally.
Even though these percentages appeared to be high, the percentages regarding alcohol decreased slightly from last year, and that's a positive trend. Of course, some of the teens who admitted to consuming alcohol might have tried it only one time to satisfy their curiosity and found out that they didn't like it taste and have never tried it again.
IT IS EASY TO BLAME HIM
DR. WALLACE: My boyfriend and I have been dating for about four months. He is a good guy and I like him very much, but he is totally unorganized. I have an 11:30 p.m. weekend curfew, and on three of the past four days, he has brought me home late. One time, it was 15 minutes, and the other two times, it was 30 minutes. My parents are really upset. They have grounded me for two weeks. This is a serious situation. What can I do to make sure my guy is more responsible? — Tardy Girl, Newark, NJ.
TARDY: It's easy to blame your boyfriend (especially since he is "totally unorganized") for you missing your curfew three times. But you are the one responsible for your curfew, not your boyfriend. You know the curfew time. If for some reason your boyfriend continues to ignore your requests to get you home by 11:30 p.m., then you should refuse to go out with him anymore.
Before your next date, have a nice chat with your guy and inform him that he must have you home at 11:30 p.m. — and not a second later. When the time comes that you should be heading home after the date, make sure he is aware that you need to head home right away. We are all responsible for our actions. Step up and manage the clock yourself.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.