Pregnant teen with teddy bear.

Young Girls, Drugs, & Impaired Judgement

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previous post looked at the important issue of girls and drug, noting that people often tend to think that drugs are a bigger problem for young boys. However, there is now evidence that girls are at even greater risk for certain drug-related behaviors.Pregnant teen with teddy bear.

So we know that drug use impairs young people’s judgment. But how does this impairment lead to specific problems related to sex. For many parents this can be an extremely sensitive subject.

This information comes from a 2006 report from the Office of National Drug Control Policy. In 2003, about one in four sexually active ninth-grade girls used alcohol or drugs during their last sexual intercourse. The use of alcohol or drugs can increase teen’s risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases because kids who use alcohol or drugs are more likely to have sex with multiple partners.

Substance abuse may also cause higher rates of unintended pregnancy, since drugs and alcohol are associated with increased casual sex. Many girls lose their virginity while drunk. Many of those become pregnant, or do things they wouldn’t do when sober.

In one study of unplanned pregnancies in 14-21 year olds, one third of the girls who had gotten pregnant had been drinking when they had sex, and 91% reported that the sex was unplanned.

Another post discussed how parental drinking increases the risk of substance abuse by their kids. That means when parents use alcohol, they can be indirectly increasing the sexual behaviors of their young girls. It is tough to accept that there is a relationship between the two, but it cannot be ignored.

Parents, take a close look at your own behaviors and pay careful attention to the behaviors of your daughters and your sons. Get help early if you need it. Our kids, boys and girls, face tough issues.

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.