Reversing decades-long trends, teen girls are smoking marijuana and cigarettes and drinking alcohol at rates higher than teen boys, according to the White House's director of National Drug Control Policy, John Walters.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health notes that 1.5 million 12- to 17-year-old girls started drinking alcohol in 2004 compared to 1.28 million boys. The 2004 figures, based on a survey of 70,000 families, are the most recent available.
In the same age range, 730,000 girls started smoking cigarettes compared to 565,000 boys. Regarding drug usage, 675,000 girls started using marijuana compared to 577,000 boys and 14.4 percent of girls and 12.5 percent of boys misused prescription drugs.
A well-known ad campaign years ago told women, "You've come a long way, baby!" in encouraging them to smoke a particular cigarette brand. Sure enough, rates from cancers caused by smoking soon rose to rival cancer rates in men. It seems ever-younger girls are getting the message that they can do whatever they want without suffering the consequences. Sadly, real life doesn't work that way. (Source: Associated Press.)