Caring Families - Teen Girls at High Risk

1 decade 1 year 10 months ago Thursday, February 09 2006 Feb 9, 2006 Thursday, February 09, 2006 3:44:02 PM CST February 09, 2006 in News

Darshonna Lieberman, 17, used to hate her father for rescuing her from drugs and alcohol.

"I felt like I was one of those kids who didn't get the manual on how to be a kid," she explained. "I always felt out of place. I always felt like I didn't belong."

When Lieberman was 12, she started drinking and doing drugs, including marijuana, hallucinogens, diet pills, Oxycontin and Ritalin. She said she was trying to escape the pressures of being a teenage girl.

"It's that peer pressure to be skinny," said Lieberman, "to be beautiful, to have the looks."

Now, a government study shows pressure leads more girls than boys into trouble:

-In 2004, one out of every eight tried smoking cigarettes
-one out of every five reported drinking alcohol in the past month
-675,000 started smoking marijuana

And 1.6 million girls were depressed, double the number of boys. Federal Drug Czar John Walters said low self-esteem and teen stress make girls more at-risk for substance abuse.

"You don't want them to choose substances of abuse as a way of dealing with stress," said Walters. "You want to be a good example yourself, and help them learn that there are positive ways to deal with stress and growing up."

Lieberman's father has spent 20 years counseling teens and parents about drug abuse, substance abuse, depression and anxiety.

"The longer they go, the more difficult it is, and the longer it takes to resolve those issues," he said.

Lieberman's daughter has been clean for 2 years, and tells other teens and their parents how she almost died at 15.

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