Girls’ addiction risks different from boys: US study
Published by Reuters – Monday 21 April, 2003
WASHINGTON, Feb 5 (Reuters) – Girls and young women who use alcohol and drugs are more likely than boys and young men to attempt suicide, according to a study on Wednesday.
Girls also can get hooked faster than boys, even when using the same or smaller amount of a particular substance, according to the study released at a briefing by Columbia University’s National Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse, known as CASA.
Participants in the briefing included Columba Bush, wife of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and sister-in-law of President George W. Bush. Her daughter, Noelle, has had several run-ins with the law because of drugs.
“My heart goes out to all those saddened parents across America whose daughters have sunk into substance abuse and addiction,” said Bush, a CASA board member.
CASA head Joseph Califano, who was President Jimmy Carter’s secretary of health, education and welfare, said the study underscored the need for different approaches to prevention and treatment for girls and young women.
“Unisex prevention programs — largely developed without regard to gender, often with males in mind — fail to influence millions of girls and young women,” he said.
The study, which covered the years from early adolescence to age 22, found, for instance, that girls are at particularly high risk if they are depressed, stressed, or victims of physical or sexual abuse.
Girls who have eating disorders are also at high risk, as are girls who start puberty early or whose families have moved frequently.
The research also found a possible link between coffee consumption and substance abuse. Girls and young women who drink coffee are significantly more likely to smoke and drink alcohol, and to start at an earlier age.
Among the lawmakers at the briefing was Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, a New York Democrat, who proposed legislation to target the growing problem of abuse of legal prescription drugs, including painkillers, stimulants and tranquilizers.