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Other protective influences for teens are to feel connected to adults and peers at school, and have solid self-esteem, good grades and a religious identity.

To me, the big question is whether the massive, 78-million-strong Generation Y is going to kick America’s illegal drug problems to the curb.

In 2007, drug czar John Walters told me that while baby boomers viewed illicit drugs as “new and rebellious,” today’s teens see them as something “for losers.” If Mr. Walters is right — and I hope he is — that indicates a brilliant future for our nation. It’s also a not-too-subtle hint for Mr. Phelps to be sure to keep his promise.

Cheryl Wetzstein can be reached at