Why girls are far more likely to abuse drugs like speed, Ecstasy and cocaine than boys
TEENAGE girls are being exposed to drugs earlier than boys and experimenting with a wider range of narcotics from a younger age, a new survey has revealed.
The report by a leading youth drugs agency found girls and young women are more likely than boys to have taken almost every recreational drug, including Ecstasy, cocaine, LSD and amphetamines.
A quarter of females questioned admitted taking speed and Ecstasy, almost a half had used cannabis and more than one in five had tried cocaine. Ten per cent had taken the dance drug ketamine, 18 per cent had tried hallucinogenic mushrooms and more than 55 per cent had smoked.
The figures for males were lower, with about 15 per cent admitting to taking amphetamines, Ecstasy, cocaine and magic mushrooms, 6.9 per cent trying ketamine, 45 per cent using cannabis and less than a third smoking.
Researcher said the difference could be explained by girls and young women being exposed to drugs culture from an earlier age, both through older boyfriends and from being allowed into nightclubs.
It was claimed door staff are likely to "turn a blind eye" to under-age girls who are heavily made-up and dressed for clubbing, especially if they were in groups or accompanied by an older boyfriend.
The annual survey by Crew 2000, an Edinburgh-based drugs advice centre, which looked at 18 drugs, found two-thirds of girls had accessed more drugs than males. The findings supported those of the latest Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey report in 2006 which found girls were accessing drugs in clubs and discos more than boys.
Carla Ellis, the project's operation manager, said:
"Girls mature at an earlier age and are subjected to a range of role models from celebrities like Kate Moss to other adult influences around them in everyday life.
"They are likely to have boyfriends who are a couple of years older and are able to get into clubs where they can access drugs. They reach a stage, earlier than boys, where they want to be mature and be accepted as part of that older group. Peer pressure can have an incredibly powerful effect on girls, contributing to the feeling that nothing can happen to them. Behaving as they do is a way of sticking two fingers up at society."
Graeme Walker, 20, a PR and media student at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, said: "You are more likely to see under-age girls in clubs where they can get speed, Ecstasy and coke. I still get (asked for identification] on the door because bouncers are more likely to check a boy's ID than a girl's. But, at the same time, they will let in an under-age girl in a low-cut top with no questions."
Rowdy Yates, senior research fellow in Scottish Addiction Studies at the University of Stirling, added:
"One of the areas I've studied is heroin, and the majority of women have tended to become involved through older boyfriends and will continue that for many years."
I SOLD DRUGS TO LOOK COOL, SAYS ROBINA, 15
ROBINA was 15 and a pupil at an Edinburgh school when she met her 17-year-old boyfriend William at a party two years ago. His elder brother and friends introduced her to drugs and she ended up selling them to other pupils to appear "cool".
"I really enjoyed being part of that crowd," she said. "I'd never tried cannabis before and it made me feel part of things. It was all a scene – going to clubs to see bands.
"William's brother knew how to get stuff and that's the way I should have left it.
"I started showing off, making out I had contacts. Friends asked me to get them drugs and I ended up buying more for myself and selling it on.
"I definitely felt paranoid and was bad-tempered with my parents. Part of it could have been the drugs but I was stressed thinking I'd get caught on CCTV somehow. I wasn't remotely a drug dealer … being silly got me into a mess."
By Katrine Bussey
Published Date: 13 April 2008
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