Girls in juvenile custody abuse drugs more than boys

Girls who land in juvenile halls in the San Diego
metro area abuse drugs at substantially higher rates than their male
counterparts, according to a study released on Tuesday by the San Diego Association
of Governments.

Following is a list of findings regarding drug use among girls:

— Sixty-four percent of the girls reported that their families had been
involved with county Child Protective Services, compared with 15 percent of
the boys.

— Seventy-six percent of the girls reported having run away from home,
compared with 41 percent of the boys.

— Girls were significantly more likely than boys to report using
alcohol at an earlier age, with the average age of first alcohol use at 11.8
for girls and 12.9 for boys.

— Girls were significantly more likely than boys to have tried
methamphetamine (56 percent vs. 21 percent); ecstasy (60 percent/27 percent);
LSD (28 percent/7 percent); and spice (76 percent/45 percent).

— Girls also were significantly more likely than boys to have missed
school due to drug use (50 percent/16 percent).

“These trends we are seeing speak to the importance of having gender-
appropriate intervention and prevention programs to address the underlying
needs of girls,” said Cynthia Burke, director of criminal-justice research for

As part of the study, a total of 124 youth were interviewed at juvenile
hall in March and September of 2012. Among them, 120 — 97 percent — provided
a urine sample for drug-testing purposes (95 male detainees, 25 female).

The analysis by the SANDAG Criminal Justice Research Division includes
results of urinalysis trends over time, as well as information pertaining to
lifetime and recent self-reported drug use, perceived risk and availability of
different drugs, and characteristics of the youth interviewed and how those
factors may be related to drug abuse.

Categories: KUSI