Back to School

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This year's National Household Survey on Drug Abuse should be a balm for many a baby boomer's conscience. For the first time since 1992, illicit drug use among the tear-jerkingly precious 12- to 17-year-old age group has declined, dropping slightly to 9 percent from 10.9 percent in 1995 after three years of sharp increases.

The accompanying news, however, has a neat symmetry: drug use among 18-to-25-year-olds is up more than 2 percent since 1994, to 15.6 percent.

One conclusion: the teenage troublemakers of the past few years are fast growing up. And youngers, apparently, are not taking up the torch. Which must be reassuring to the boomers, who would love to see drugs back where they remember them: back in college.