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Teens are going to pot: Marijuana surpasses cigs in Hub

 Editor    Feb 07 : 11:23
 None    News Stories

Ellen J.

Ellen J. Silberman - Boston Herald
Boston teenagers are more likely to light up a joint than a Marlboro, a report released yesterday by the City of Boston found. Just 15 percent of Boston high school students told school officials they smoked cigarettes, but 22 percent of the students said they used marijuana, according The Boston 2003 Trend Report: Snapshot of Boston's Children and Youth.

Marijuana smoking has held steady since 1993, the first year included in the study. But cigarette smoking shows a steady decline: from 21 percent of teens in 1993 to 15 percent in 2001, the most recent year surveyed. Still, alcohol remains the drug of choice among Boston's youth. In 2001, 42 percent told public school officials they'd had a drink in the past 30 days. Nearly half of those students, 18 percent, reported binge drinking in the past two weeks. Meanwhile, 30 percent of Boston high school students said they'd had their first drink before they turned 13.

The relatively high rates of drinking and drug use put Boston teens at risk for other problems, including strained relationships with their parents, unprotected sex and alcoholism in adulthood, the report found. The trend report compiled dozens of statistics from a host of sources to create a picture of city life for Boston's children. The goal is to ``help the city and its partners to make sound decisions about program development, service delivery and allocation of resources as we map out the future for Boston's young people,'' Mayor Thomas M. Menino said.

Other findings include: Twenty-six percent of Boston's children lived in poverty in 2000, a slight drop since 1990. Boston children are a third more likely to live in poverty than than adults in the city. Half of all teenagers say their parents don't ask them where they're going. Twenty-five percent of Boston teenagers feel they are not getting enough sleep.

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