Teen Girls and Drug Abuse
Addiction in Young Women on the Increase
© Andrea Okrentowich
Jan 28, 2007
Studies have shown that teenage girls are using drugs and alcohol with increasing frequency. What has contributed to this rise and why are girls more vulnerable?
A National Survey of Drug Use and Health in 2004 showed that girls began smoking marijuana earlier than boys. Besides increased substance abuse, studies also show that more teen girls are absuing tobacco and alcohol.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, “girls ages 12 to 17 now match boys in illegal drug and alcohol use and have actually surpassed boys in smoking cigarettes and misusing prescription drugs.”
In 2006, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) reported that "1.6 million girls reported having at least one major depressive episode in 2004." The number one drug of choice for girls since 2003? Marijuana, which can bring on symptoms of depression, ranks highest. Prescription pills, diet pills to pain killers also fill out the list of common drugs used among girls.
The increase in substance abuse among young women is especially dangerous because of the more serious health issues associated with female users. The female physiology is substantially different; women tend to develop alcohol-related health problems far faster than young men do, reports the American Medical Association.
These alcohol-related issues can include: brain damage, cancer, cardiac complications as well as mental disorders. Teen girls who drink alcohol regularly will also likely experience a disruption of growth and puberty. This disruption can result in serious, depressive symptoms which add to the general stress of trying to fit in with peers.
A study by the Department of Human Services showed that one in six girls became sexually active after consuming alcohol. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, teen girls who binge drink are 63% more likely to also become teen mothers. In the same study, one in four girls were reported to have driven under the influence or had gotten in a car with someone who had been drinking.
No family is immune from conflict, family problems arise when tensions run high and studies show teen girls are “more sensitive to conflict[s]” (ONDCP) in the family, so a social support system is vital for teens. A mentor, or confidant that is a positive role model as well as social groups like church organizations, Boys and Girls Clubs or the YMCA, are all good choices when creating a positive social circle.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Teen Girls and Drug Abuse
Posted by C.King, M.Ed. at 8:04 AM