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Teen Girls Becoming More Open to Drugs, Alcohol
Date:6/29/2010

By Ellin Holohan
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, June 29 (HealthDay News) -- American teenage girls may be more receptive to using alcohol and taking drugs than in years past, a new report says.

Girls appear more inclined than ever to reach for drugs and booze to help them emotionally, according to a survey by the nonprofit Partnership for a Drug Free America. For example, the 2009 survey of high school students found 53 percent of girls agreeing with the notion that drugs "help you forget your troubles," up from 48 percent in 2008.

The survey, which examines changes in substance use and attitudes, found the use of alcohol and marijuana jumped considerably more among girls than boys between 2008-2009.

Also, fewer teen girls than a year earlier frowned on illegal drug use by their friends, and fewer considered the "party" drug ecstasy addictive, the study found.

"There's been a change in the culture," said Dr. Marc Galanter, director of the division of alcoholism and drug abuse at the New York University's Langone Medical Center in New York City. He was not involved with the study.

"Women previously had more constrained roles in terms of the propriety of indulging in behaviors such as public intoxication and the like. Now with women in the workforce and becoming more liberated, they are not so constrained," he said.

According to the research, supported by the MetLife Foundation, use of alcohol by girls increased 11 percent but not significantly among boys. However, while more girls (59 percent) than boys (52 percent) drink alcohol, boys still use more illegal drugs than girls do.

Among the nearly 3,300 teens from private, public and parochial high schools included in the survey, 81 percent of girls reported seeing drugs as a way to handle school stress, versus 75 percent of boys.

"It's really another sign of a changing landscape in America," said Steve Pasierb, the Partnership's pre
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