A recent analysis of the 2009 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS), showed some alarming trends with teenage girls’ perceptions of drinking alcohol and drug use. Some key findings included:
- More than two-thirds of teen girls responded positively to the question “using drugs helps kids deal with problems at home” (an 11% increase from 2008)
- More than half reported that drugs help teens forget their troubles (a 10% increase)
- Stress was identified as a key factor leading to drinking, smoking and drug use among girls
- More than three times as many young girls as boys reported having symptoms of depression in 2008
- Teenage girls’ alcohol use increased by 11% (from 53% in 2008 to 59% in 2009), a significant increase when compared to teenage boys
- Teen girls’ past year marijuana use significantly increased by 29%, while boys’ use of marijuana during the same time period had a much less dramatic 15% increase
So, what can parents do to prevent these increases in drug and alcohol use by their teenage girls?
Partnership President and CEO Steve Pasierb says, “Parents can help prevent alcohol and drug abuse by recognizing and addressing their daughters’ worries and stresses, by supporting her positive decisions and by taking immediate action if they suspect or know she has been experimenting with drugs and alcohol.”
Parents can also visit Time to Act to get step-by-step advice and sympathetic guidance from substance abuse experts, family therapists, scientists and fellow parents to help guide families through the process of understanding drug and alcohol use, confronting a child, setting boundaries and seeking outside help.
PATS was conducted for the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and MetLife Foundation by the Roper Public Affairs Division of GfK Custom Research. FMI, visit drugfree.org.