Teen girl shooting drugs.

Girls and Drugs

blog

Some adults have the general sense that substance abuse among youngsters is more common for boys than girls. In many cases they may be right, but what do we really know about girls and drugs?

Teen girl shooting drugs.

A 2006 report from the Office of National Drug Control Policy specifically examined girls and drugs. They found that in 2004, more girls than boys started using alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana. They also discovered that 1.6 million girls reported at least one serious struggle with depression since 2004 — which is twice as many as boys. What’s more, teen girls outnumbered boys in their misuse of prescription drugs.

Teen girls are more vulnerable than boys to depression, anxiety, excessive concerns about weight or appearance, risky sexual behavior, psychiatric or conduct disorders, and physical or sexual abuse — all of which are risk factors for drug use.

Friends have a substantial influence on teens overall, but girls are especially susceptible to peer pressure when it comes to drinking. Adolescent girls are more likely than boys to drink to fit in with their friends, while boys typically begin to drink for other reasons and then join a group who also drinks.

Keep an eye on your girls and the female youngsters in your world of influence. Take their issues seriously. Develop solid relationships with them which allow for needed communication. Kids are waiting for adults to interact with them who care.

Lastly, seek professional advice early. Don’t wait for consequences to occur before you act. 

Author

Gary L. Hopkins, MD, DrPH, MPH is currently an associate research professor at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan where he is also associate director of the Institute for Prevention of Addictions, Director of the Center for Prevention Research and Director of the Center for Media Impact Research.