Females are more susceptible than males to drug, tobacco and alcohol addictions, says a recent study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.
The three-year study, based on information from three nationwide surveys of girls ages eight to 22, discovered that the gap between males and females who use drugs and alcohol is gone. Of high schoolers, 45 percent of females use alcohol in comparison to 49 percent of males, and more girls than boys are on prescription drugs.
The study also revealed several other facts about female substance abuse. Girls use more stimulants, tranquilizers and painkillers than do boys, and both sexes use alcohol and inhalants at the same rate. Girls are also more likely to abuse drugs if they reach puberty early, have had eating disorders or have been abused.
And according to a January 2002 article in Trends in Biochemical Sciences, estrogen may increase susceptibility to drug addictions.
While girls are catching up with boys in substance addiction, they differ in reasons for their habits. Most females begin to drink or do drugs to lose weight, reduce stress or allay depression, while males seek thrills and heightened social status.
Information compiled from the Feb 7 Washington Times and the Feb 6 Wall Street Journal. For more information, visit www.casacolumbia.org
Colby Chapman. Colby Chapman is a junior page editor and sports writer for Silver Chips. She plays basketball and runs track for Blair, and she plays the piano as well. She is very committed to her academics but takes great pride in her athletics. More »