Campaign Fights Drug Abuse By Girls

Campaign Fights Drug Abuse By Girls
Posted by FoM on April 26, 2000 at 12:54:25 PT
By Gary Fields, USA Today
Source: USA Today
As Joe Hennen walks through the halls of DAYTOP Village, there are nearly as many girls in the long-term drug rehabilitation center as there are boys. It hasn't always been this way. When DAYTOP opened in 1991, there was room for 50 residents, 13 female and 37 male.
"It was hard keeping the 13 female beds filled," says Hennen, the executive director of the facility. "Drugs was much more a male problem." Two years ago, that changed. More girls started showing up for treatment, creating a waiting list of four months. Now, plans are under way to remodel the facility, so it can house 35 boys and 35 girls. Hennen and his staff are seeing a national trend. "The drug abuse level among girls is now essentially the same as it is with boys. That's not the same as it was 10 years ago when it was overwhelmingly a young man's problem," says Barry McCaffrey, director of White House drug policy. The 1999 National Drug Use Survey, which questioned 25,500 young people ages 12 to 17, found that 16% of the girls and 16.7% of the boys had drug problems. To address the increase in girls' drug use, McCaffrey and Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala are unveiling an advertising campaign at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. The campaign focuses solely on drug abuse by adolescent girls. The $7 million ad campaign is part of a five-year, $2 billion government-led media blitz to address drug abuse. The ads feature Olympic gold medal figure skater Tara Lipinski and Brandi Chastain, a member of the 1999 U.S. Women's World Cup soccer team. The message: "There's never been a better time to be a girl. There's never been a better time to be what you are, a force to be reckoned with, a girl. There's never been a better time not to use drugs. Don't blow it." McCaffrey says girls with drug issues bring a different set of problems with them than boys do: They are more likely to be sexually abused or fall victim to domestic violence. They also run an increased risk of unsafe sexual practices, he says. "Many young girls go through a period of time where their self-esteem is overly dependent on external factors. Drugs help them, they believe, with that vulnerability," McCaffrey says. "Tara Lipinski is telling them if they want to get high, do it through sports." Not everyone agrees the ads will help. Ethan Nadelmann, director of the Lindesmith Center, questions whether the ads will help turn kids away from drugs or "are we reaching kids that are not going to use drugs anyway?" He suggests more money be spent on expanding organized after-school activities and treatment. "The question has to be what's your fallback strategy for the teenagers who decide to just say yes to drugs," he says. At DAYTOP, the residents and counselors think the advertisements will have an impact. At the very least, they open up discussions about drugs. "Mostly what the girls are looking for here is acceptance and a little self-esteem and a little self-worth," says Carolyn Wilson, 37, a DAYTOP counselor and a recovering addict. She began smoking marijuana when she was 13 and descended into prostitution before she began her recovery. Ronneesha, 17, has been a resident at DAYTOP for two months. She is HIV-positive. Her mother has AIDS, and her father is dead. She started using drugs when she was 12. By the time she was 15, she was prostituting herself to earn money for crack cocaine. In the environment she grew up in, there were no positive messages about staying away from drugs, she says. She thinks the advertisements might have helped. Now, she has a message of her own: "Stay away from drugs. They are no good for you. They don't make your life better, and eventually, you're going to die. There's nothing else to it. You see where it got me." NewsHawk: RainbowMendham, N.J. Published: April 25, 2000Copyright 2000 Associated Press. Copyright 2000 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc. The Lindesmith Center CannabisNews Articles On The Lindesmith Center:
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Comment #3 posted by Mari on April 26, 2000 at 14:49:06 PT
 Could the fact that the Govt. stance that any use is abuse & mandatory drug treatment have anything to do with the rise in female admissions??
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Comment #2 posted by Dankhank on April 26, 2000 at 13:56:21 PT:
The Obvious??
No positive messages about staying away from drugs?I don't believe it ...Were there good reasons FOR doing drugs?I work with kids aged 12-18, and this is true: Kids will do what they want, when they want, how they want.They need personal encouragement, NOT stupid commercials.School teachers, administrators, PARENTS.And by the way, it seems that the evil drug czar thinks that getting "high" is OK, he just disagrees with some people's methods ..........  :-)
Hemp n Stuff
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Comment #1 posted by Dan Hillman on April 26, 2000 at 13:20:28 PT
Ronneesha is right.
> Now, she [Ronneesha] has a message of her own: "Stay away from drugs. They are no good for you. They don't make your life better,and eventually, you're going to die. There's nothing else to it. You see where it got me." You're right. Eventually I am going to die. Now then, about the drugs, what I hear you saying is "I handled drugs stupidly, shooting up with dirty needles and such. Don't handle drugs stupidly like I did." Thanks for the lesson, Ronneesha.
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