Teenage girls are at higher risk for drinking and drug use because they are more likely than teenage boys to perceive potential benefits from use. This is according to data from a survey sponsored by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America® and the MetLife Foundation.
Analysis of a 2009 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study indicated the following:
- Teen girls are more likely to perceive “self-medicating” benefits with drinking and getting high.
- More than two-thirds of teen girls responded positively to the question “using drugs helps kids deal with problems at home” (an 11 percent increase, up from 61 percent in 2008 to 68 percent in 2009).
- More than half reported that drugs help teens forget their troubles (a 10 percent increase, up from 48 percent in 2008 to 53 percent in 2009).
What parents/caregivers can do
- Begin talking to your child early and continue through the teen years. Kids who learn the dangers of drug use from parents/caregivers are 50 percent less likely to use drugs than those who don’t. Talk early and talk often. Listen carefully.
- Monitor your child’s activities. Get to know their friends. Set rules and expectations and stick to them.
- If you suspect your child is using drugs or alcohol, take action immediately. The Partnership for a Drug-Free America has a valuable resource at Time To Act. It provides current information and step-by-step advice.
The first step in helping your child is recognizing there is a problem. Stay involved in your child’s life and don’t ignore the warning signs.
(This article contains information from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America®, www.drugfree.org)