On 9th of February 2006, the American government through the Office of National Drug Control Policy released a public report claiming that the number of girls abusing alcohol and other hard drugs has raised past that of boys. This was devastating news to the entire nation, and more to the parents who felt scared of the new trend. The news was based on a survey conducted by ONDCP from 2002 to 2004. According to this survey, more girls were starting to use Marijuana, cigarettes and alcohol as compared to boys. About 1.5 million of girls started taking alcohol in 2004, about 730000 began smoking, and about 675000 began using marijuana according to the report (ONDCP, 2006). Although this report originated from a credible source, its accuracy and intention was highly doubted by a number of analyst and also contradicted by future researches on the girls’ involvement in alcohol and other drugs as compared to boys. This paper critically analyses this report to establish its accuracy and relevance.
Boys have a history of abusing alcohol and other drugs in America at an early age as compared to girls. Girls were first reported to be involved with alcohol used at a tender age in 1960 where 7% of new cases were girls aged between 10 and 14 years. This number increased and in 1990 to 31%, where new cases of girls involved in alcohol tied with that of new boys trying alcohol. IN 1998, it was reported that the new cases of girls taking alcohol had increased to 38% for girls aged between 12 and 17 years. However, this report was clear that the statistics were based on the number of girls tasting alcohol for the first time and not frequent alcohol abusers. According to this report which was created by SAMHSA, only 7% of girls aged between 12 and 17 years over did alcohol (TAADAS, 1999). On the contrary, the 2006 ONDCP report did not clearly state whether the report was based on one time users or regular abusers of alcohol. More girls could have tasted alcohol than boys, but only a few continued using it the first taste. Therefore, it can be concluded that girls were starting to get more curious about alcohol taste and they mostly tried it once maybe to satisfy their curiosity. This did not make them alcohol users and thus, such reports were not necessary. The research of this kind should focus on regular users of alcohol and not one time tasters of alcohol to satisfy curiosity.
According to a survey conducted by monitoring the future from 1975 to 2013, for use of alcohol and drugs among youths aged from 12 to 17, it is clear that boys have been in the lead in a number of drugs as compared girls. For instance, more boys have been involved in marijuana abuse as compared to girls from 2002 to 2013, and it is only in 2006 and 2012 that they were almost tying. Actually the rate of used in 2013 declined among girls as it increased among boys. An evaluation of alcohol abuser for aged between 18 and 25 for a similar period showed that men were ranging between 44 and 52% from 2002 to 2013, while women were ranging from 31% to 35% (Johnston & O’Malley, 2014). This is a clear indication that most girls who try alcohol at young age do not continue with the behavior. They end up either satisfying their curiosity or hating all the feeling related with alcohol and thus, even if the number of new users among girls in a particular year is higher than that of boy, that does not justify a conclusion that more girls are using alcohol and drugs as compared to boy, it can only be reported as more girls are tasting alcohol for the first time than boys. Girls taste and stop and thus, the future figures demonstrated clearly that men are on the lead and thus, the masses of girls who tasted alcohol to exceed men in 2004 did not make it a habit.
According to 2013 statistics, girls between 12 and 20 taking alcohol for the first time was almost tying with boy. The girls recorded 22.5% while the boys recorded 23.0%, the regular alcohol users for the same year and age demonstrated a considerable difference where girls were 12.4% while boys were 15.8%, on heavy users’ category, boys were 4.6% while girls were 2.7% (National Institute of Drug Abuse, 2015). Although the difference was very small on new users, the fact remain that girls did not exceed boy in any category. This justifies my claim that girls are getting curious at young age but the first take is just an act of curiosity and nothing else. Most of them stop considering alcohol and other drugs immediately after the initial taste.
Although boys tops girls in various drugs category, there is slight difference on the use of cigarette.
According to SAMHSA statistics carried out from 2002 to 2013, there has been a stiff competition between boys and girls aged form 12 to 17 in the use of cigarette. However, boys has been reading since 2008 to date in cigarette smoking though with a very slight margin. However, based on the general evaluation, in 2013, the general drugs dependence among youths aged 12 was 5.8% among girls and 10.8% among boys. For youths aged from 12 to 17 it was 5.2% for girls and 5.3%for boys, and for the youths aged from 18 onwards it was 5.8% for girls and 11.4% for boys. The rate of girls abusing drugs at the age of 12 to 17 is almost that of boys though in lower percentage, however, the fact remains that girls rate of drug use does not exceed that of boy and that boys have always been in the lead when it comes to drugs and alcohol use (US. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014).
Another research comparing the use of illicit drugs, marijuana and non-medical utilization of any psychotherapeutic drug for youths aged from 12 to 17 in 2002, 2012, and 2013 demonstrates a decline in the trend of use from 2002 to date and also it demonstrates that boys are in the lead for illicit drugs and marijuana but not non-prescribed drugs (CDC, 2014). Although girls can be accused of misusing non-prescribed psychotherapeutic drugs, it is clear that the overall results demonstrates that boys are still in the lead and have never been overtaken by girls in the general utilization of alcohol and other hard drugs. In this regard, it can be concluded that the ONDCP 2006 report was misleading to the public and was only set to create force alarm to the parent for no good reason.