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Colorado Keeps Focus On Youth Education After 'Encouraging' Pot Survey

By Alan Gionet

DENVER (CBS4) - A decline showing up in statistics on marijuana use among middle and high school students has Colorado officials looking at what's working.

Marijuana Generic Smoking Pot
(credit: MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows 9 percent of those students reported pot use over a 30 day period in 2016. That was down from 11 percent the year before.

"Well it has been a huge priority since marijuana sales began in Colorado in 2014 to try and prevent and even decrease youth use in Colorado, so we've put a lot of resources, a lot of time and effort into it, I think we're certainly encouraged by the results," said Mark Bolton, the governor's advisor and legal counsel on marijuana.

Bolton appeared on CBS4 This Morning where he was interviewed by Alan Gionet. Colorado's marijuana use among teenagers has been a focus of campaigns backed by marijuana generated tax money since legalization of recreational pot for adults in 2014.

The survey showed a slight decline in use across the country, but not as great as Colorado's. But the rate in Colorado of 9 percent is still two points higher than the national average, which is about 7 percent.

Bolton said the state is looking at doing more.

"Just last year we put an additional $10 million, putting more health professionals in schools. We're going to continue our public education campaigns and shift the messaging to some extent. So that we're targeting youth where we think it'll be most effective and put a lot of effort into trying to develop those messages."

The data also showed a decline in heroin, alcohol and tobacco use.

Alan Gionet is anchor of CBS4 This Morning and reports on a wide variety of issues and "Good Question" stories. He started at CBS4 in 1994. Follow Alan on Twitter @AlanGTV or on Facebook.

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