Quick Links: Alcohol Use by TeensTeens who use drugs and alcohol place themselves at an increased risk of teen pregnancy, STDs, violence including rape, vehicular accidents among other risky behaviors because of their inability to make good decisions while under the influence of these illegal substances. In this way, drugs pose a significant threat to your teen's health, not to mention the risk of the drug on their body.
The AIDS virus can be transmitted through sharing hypodermic needles along with having unprotected sex. There is also considerable evidence that alcohol and other drugs weaken the immune system, thereby increasing susceptibility to infection and disease. This along with a teens inability to not make good decisions while drunk or high on drugs leads to more STDs and cases of AIDs/HIV.
Consider the following statistics:
- The use of alcohol and other drugs can affect judgment and lead to taking serious sexual risks. There were 18,540 cases of AIDS among 13- to 24-year-olds reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by the end of 1994.
- In 2009, the Monitoring the Future Survey reported that 37% of 8th graders and 72% of 12th graders had tried alcohol, and 15% of 8th graders and 44% of 12th graders drank during the past month.
- About 75 percent of high school seniors have had sexual intercourse at least once in their lives; about 20 percent have had more than four sexual partners by their senior year. According to the 2009 underage drinking fact sheet on the CDC, 42% of all high school students admit to drinking alcohol in the last 30 days. Add to that studies show that adolescents are less likely to use condoms when having sex after drinking alcohol. This places them at even higher risk for HIV infection, STDs, and unwanted pregnancy.
- According to an article in Pediatrics 2007, the risk of youth experiencing these problems is greater for those who binge drink than for those who do not binge drink.
- A survey of high school students found that 18 percent of females and 39 percent of males say it is acceptable for a boy to force sex if the girl is stoned or drunk. Really, we need to teach our teens what dating is and what it is not.
According to the CDC, the sixth leading cause of death among 15- to 20-year-olds in the United States for over three years has been HIV/AIDS. One in five of the new AIDS cases diagnosed is in the 20 to 29 year age group, meaning that HIV transmission occurred during the teen years. Additionally, more than half of new cases of HIV infection in 1994 were related to drug use.
There is still much to be learned about the relationship between alcohol and other drugs and sexual behavior. During the past decade, teens reported higher levels of sexual activity at earlier ages, experienced more unplanned pregnancies, and suffered higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases. To reduce the incidence of these problems in the future, prevention of alcohol and other drug abuse must be a top priority.
Quick Links: Alcohol Use by Teens