Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Study: More Girls Than Boys Turn To Drugs

Click 2 Houston

A new government study about how teenage girls are dealing with stress and self-esteem has some surprising results.

For the first time ever, it's believed more girls than boys are turning to drugs and alcohol.

Darshonna Lieberman, 17, once hated her father for rescuing her from a life of drugs and alcohol.

"I felt like I was one of those kids who didn't get the manual on how to be a kid. I always felt out of place. I always felt like I didn't belong," she said.

It started when she was 12 -- marijuana, hallucinogens, diet pills, Oxycontin, Ritalin and lots of alcohol. They were an escape, she said, from the pressures of being a teenage girl.

"It's that peer pressure to be skinny, to be beautiful, to have the looks," she said.

Now, a government study has found that pressure is leading more girls than boys to get into trouble. In 2004, one out of eight tried smoking cigarettes. Of the study participants, 18 percent reported drinking alcohol in the past month, and 675,000 started smoking marijuana.

Twice as many girls as boys experienced depression -- 1.6 million. Drug Czar John Walters said low self-esteem and teenage stress make girls more vulnerable to substance abuse.

"You don't want them to choose substances of abuse as a way of dealing with stress. You want to be a good example yourself and help them learn that there are positive ways to deal with stress and growing up," Walters said.

The irony is that Darshonna's father has spent 20 years counseling teens and parents about drug abuse.

"Substance abuse, depression, anxiety, those types of things. The longer they go, the more difficult it is and the longer it takes to resolve those issues," John Lieberman said.

Darshonna has been clean for two years, and now speaks to other teens and parents about how she nearly died at 15.


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