Drugs & Alcohol: A Growing Problem For Girls

By KBJR News 1

August 31, 2010 Updated Aug 31, 2010 at 7:06 PM CDT

New survey results from the partnership for a drug free America report that girls appear more inclined than ever to reach for drugs and booze to help them emotionally.

They say drugs "help you forget your troubles." researchers advise parents to be especially attentive to their daughters' moods and worries.

Barbara Reyelts has the story for Connect With Kids.

Boys say they use drugs to get a thrill.

"It was boring unless I was high. Cause I just didn't feel right. I was just like - I felt normal, and normal wasn't cool, it was just boring."

But girls say they use drugs for very different reasons.

"Females worry about their self-esteem a lot. That's like, it means so much, their confidence, and once that's down it's like anything, like, males, drugs- gets them feeling high, they do it."

What was once perceived as a male problem has changed.

"We used to believe that boys were more likely to use than girls and that there were more boys out there using than girls, and what this study has shown is that the numbers are the same now."

New research confirms girls are more likely than ever to reach for drugs and alcohol.

The reason, experts say, many girls use drugs to deal with stress and anxiety.

"This is a time when girls are very, very vulnerable to begin to use drugs to help control their weight or to help with their self-esteem, because they're feeling insecure, feeling inadequate, looking around trying to figure out what popular means and doesn't mean and so when they drink or get high it helps that stress go away."

Experts say if your daughter is stressed out, help her find productive ways to cope, keep the lines of communication open, encourage exercise, even therapy, and don't write drugs and alcohol off as a youthful indiscretion.

"I think it's real easy for parents to say, too, that it is merely because of who my daughters associate with that they're involved with drugs or alcohol, but really it's a much more basic problem than that. It's about who my daughter is, and what she's dealing with."

Experts say that because of biological differences, girls can actually get hooked faster, and by using fewer drugs than boys.

Also, drugs are especially dangerous to girls because they are more vulnerable to the health effects of drug abuse than boys are.