Alcohol, Marijuana use rates lower among teens

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Fewer North Dakota teenagers are experimenting with alcohol and marijuana, according to the Department of Human Services.

The 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey shows that the percentage of high school students who had their first drink before the age of 13 decreased from 32.3 percent in 1995 to 14.5 percent in 2017. Current alcohol use dropped from more than 60 percent in 1995 to 29 percent in 2017. Marijuana use has also decreased. Laura Anderson, prevention administrator with human services, says this is encouraging for the state.

“Prevention as a field has really blossomed and identified the research that shows what works and what doesn't work. Then the widespread implementation of what works and what doesn't work I think has led to those changes,” said Anderson.

A 2016 Surgeon General's Report estimated every $1 invested in prevention led to $64 in savings.