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Teen Girls Drinking More: Girls "Self-Medicate" with Booze, Drugs, Says Survey

(AP Photo.)
(AP Photo.)

(CBS) Teenage boys may or may not deserve their reputation for carousing, but new research suggests that teen girls are more vulnerable to drug and alcohol abuse.

Girls are more likely than boys to associate the "self-medicating" benefits of drinking and getting high, according to a study released by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and the MetLife Foundation. 

Boys tend to drink to party and to relax in social situations, the study found. But of the teen girls surveyed for the study, 70 percent agreed with the statement that "using drugs helps kids deal with problems at home." More than half said drugs can help them forget their problems.

"If you're using drugs as a life-management mechanism, the concern would be that that would be a more difficult behavior to put aside," Sean Clarkin, director of Strategy and Program Management at Drug-Free America, told CBS News.

Stress is a key factor that can lead to drinking and drug use among girls, and more than three times as many girls as boys reported having symptoms of depression.

Whatever the reasons, the study found that drinking and doping are up for both sexes - but more for girls. Marijuana and Ecstasy are still the drugs of choice, though marijuana use rose 29 percent among girls and 15percent among boys.

"Parents of daughters should be especially alert for signs that their children are stressed, depressed, lacking self-esteem," said Clarkin. These can be risk factors for abuse."