Teens Sex Activity Tied to Drink & Drugs

Aug 20, 2004 -- The more sexually active friends a teen has and the more time a teen spends with a boyfriend or girlfriend, the greater the risk that teen will smoke, drink, get drunk or use illegal drugs, according to The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

An Expert Comment

"The message for parents from this year's survey is clear -- the thunder of teen sexual activity and dating behavior may signal the lightning of substance abuse," said Joseph A. Califano, Jr., head of The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. (Califano was formerly Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare.)

Drug-Free Schools

The survey by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse contains much more of interest. For example, the survey clearly shows the importance of drug-free schools and the dysfunctionality of schools where drugs are used, kept and sold. These schools are plagued with more physical fights and cheating. We believe that all schools should be drug-free.

We heartily recommend that you read the summary of the report (below). It is good reading and relevant to all of us.

Barbara K. Hecht, Ph.D.
Frederick Hecht, M.D.
Medical Editors, MedicineNet.com

Related Links


SEXUALLY ACTIVE FRIENDS AND DATING PRACTICES CAN SIGNAL INCREASE IN A TEEN'S SUBSTANCE ABUSE RISK

Girls Who Date Boys Two or More Years Older Likelier to Smoke, Drink, Get Drunk, and Use Illegal Drugs

WASHINGTON, August 19, 2004 - The more sexually active friends a teen has and the more time a teen spends with a boyfriend or girlfriend, the greater the risk that teen will smoke, drink, get drunk or use illegal drugs, according to the National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse IX: Teen Dating Practices and Sexual Activity, an annual back-to-school survey conducted by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA*) at Columbia University.

This ninth annual CASA survey found:

  • Compared to teens with no sexually active friends, teens who report half or more of their friends are sexually active are more than six and one-half times likelier to drink; 31 times likelier to get drunk; 22.5 times likelier to have tried marijuana; and more than five and one-half times likelier to smoke.
  • Teens who spend 25 or more hours a week with a boyfriend/girlfriend are two and one-half times likelier to drink; five times likelier to get drunk; 4.5 times likelier to have tried marijuana; and more than 2.5 times likelier to smoke than teens who spend less than 10 hours a week with a boyfriend/girlfriend.
  • Girls with boyfriends two or more years older are more than twice as likely to drink; almost six times likelier to get drunk; six times likelier to have tried marijuana; and four and one-half times likelier to smoke than girls whose boyfriends are less than two years older or who do not have a boyfriend.

"The message for parents from this year's survey is clear - the thunder of teen sexual activity and dating behavior may signal the lightning of substance abuse," said Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASA's chairman and president and former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare.

Other striking findings in this year's survey:

  • Teens, half or more of whose friends regularly view and download Internet pornography, are more than three times likelier to smoke, drink or use illegal drugs, compared to teens who have no friends who engage in such behavior.
  • Forty-four percent of high school students think that boys at their school often or sometimes "push girls to drink alcohol or take drugs in order to get the girls to have sex or do other sexual things."

"This year's survey reveals a tight connection between teen sexual behavior and substance abuse," said Califano. "This is not to say that teen sexual behavior causes substance abuse or that substance abuse causes teens to have sex, although we know that alcohol and drugs like marijuana and cocaine are sexually disinhibiting. It is to say that parents who become aware of certain dating and sexual behavior by their children should be alert to the increased likelihood of substance abuse."


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