Report: Drug Use Up Among Girls

By: Philip Stewart
By: Philip Stewart

February 8, 2006

A new study being released Thursday has some disturbing news about drug use.

Statistics say that drug use among young people overall is down. Those numbers are accurate, but certain kinds of drug use are on the rise and the group that's using more is young girls.

"Drug use is down nineteen percent since 2001," said President Bush in his State of the Union Address.

However, a new study set to be released tomorrow from the white house says that girls are using alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana more than boys.

"If we're gonna get girls to continue to decline in drug use effectively, we're gonna have to deal with those causes which are different," said John Walters, Director of the Drug Control Policy.

The report reveals that in 2004, 1.5 million girls started using alcohol. That's 173,000 more than the number of boys.

The numbers are just as bad for cigarettes. 729,000 girls started smoking. Thats 164,000 more than boys who took up cigarettes.

The most troubling statistic, marijuana use. 675,000 girls started using marijuana, out-pacing the boys by just under 100,000.

"We're going to have to focus with the particular unique circumstances we're faced with, with girls, which is different today than it's ever been before," said Walters.

Girls may have different reasons for using drugs than boys.

"This study shows that girls are self-medicating with these substances," said Dr. Keith Albow, a child psychologist. "They're not just doing it to get high, and I think that's because the roles are shifting. Girls are having more dramatically different roles to adopt than ever."

Experts also point out that things like TV images and fashion tend to put more emphasis on the female appearance, which can add to stress...which of course can then lead to drug use.

Psychologists advise parents take a pro-active approach. They say things like falling grades or general lack of interest can be signs of a problem.

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