Girls Surpass Boys in Drinking, Smoking & Drug Use

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If you have a teen daughter, you'll want to pay attention. A new study says teen girls are surpassing their male counterparts in drug use and alcohol consumption. That's disturbing data for researchers who say overall teenage drug use is on the decline.

A national survey on drug use and health found that teenage girls are smoking, drinking, and doing drugs more than boys.

Many counselors say they're not surprised by the findings. But the reasons teenage girls seek escape through substance abuse are different from their male counterparts.

Counselors say teenage girls are bombarded by magazines, television, and movies that promote unhealthy images and lifestyles.

"Girls are concerned about their body image. They're just trying to be cool. They think if they're hanging with a crowd, this is the cool thing to do," said Nancy Preston, a counselor with Bryan ISD.

"Because of all the things that are going on and all the peer pressure. The things that are going on with the media. Weight gain, they're always thinking about weight gain and their image is also a big thing," said LaTrease Thornton with BVCASA.

Thornton says she has seen a slight increase in the number of teenage girls and woman seeking treatment for substance abuse and that females often have a more difficult time completing treatment than men.

But Thornton and others say prevention should start at home.

" Parents need to make very clear what their expectations and family values are about drug use and not be afraid to have those conversations with their kids," said Preston.

Because in the ongoing battle of the sexes this is one area where no one comes out a winner.

St Joseph Regional Health Center will be offering a free educational seminar on teens and prescription medications. It will be held February 20th at the St Joseph Annex at 6 p.m. For more information call 731- 1231.