During one month's time, the study data showed that an estimated 62,000 pregnant women (2.3% of all pregnant women under age 44) reported using an illicit drug.
Approximately one-fifth (21.2%) of pregnant women under age 44 had used alcohol(Drug information on alcohol) in the month's survey, with nearly one-third (30.4%) having three or more drinks on the days they drank. Additionally, approximately one-fifth (21.5%) of pregnant women under age 44 said they had smoked cigarettes in the past month. More than one-quarter (28.5%) of these reported heavy smoking in the past month.
Women who were pregnant reported a significantly lower prevalence of past-month use of alcohol, marijuana and any illicit drug than nonpregnant women with or without children. These data suggest that many women may have reduced or stopped substance use during pregnancy, but increased use after they gave birth.
Women who used problem drugs (30%) were more likely to live with children under age 18 than men who used problem drugs (18%).Women receive less care
Women were less likely than men to have received alcohol and drug treatment in the past year (0.6% versus 1.3% for drug treatment and 0.9% versus 2.2% for alcohol treatment). In addition, a greater percentage of adolescent females (ages 12 to 17) than adolescent males had received alcohol and drug treatment in the past year (1.2% versus 0.6% reported past-year drug treatment and 1.2% versus 0.9% reported past-year alcohol treatment).
Commenting on these statistics, Nelba Chavez, Ph.D., SAMHSA administrator, said: "This landmark study tells us conclusively that substance abuse is an increasingly significant problem for women in this country, and it's a problem that is starting earlier and earlier in girls' lives. We need to be providing girls with greater support and a more empowered view of their future during their vulnerable early teen years. This is why we initiated the 'Girl Power!' campaign."In Celebration of "Girl Power!"
The "Girl Power!" campaign was initiated in 1996 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention at SAMHSA, under the direction of HHS Secretary Donna Shalala. Their goal is to empower and encourage 9- to 14-year-old girls to make the most of their lives. The ongoing public education campaign provides young women with positive messages, meaningful opportunities and accurate information about health issues.
"Too many girls are taking dangerous chances with the only lives they will ever have," Shalala said at an American Public Health Association annual meeting. "We hope to reach girls at this key transitional age when they are forming their values and attitudes. Our job as caring adults is to help girls build confidence and pursue opportunity."
The "Girl Power!" campaign is unique because it addresses issues in girls' lives today and is implemented in many phases. The objective of the first phase is to delay the onset and reduce the use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs among young girls. Subsequent phases' target underage smoking, premature sexual activity, physical activity, nutrition and mental health.
A campaign goal is to enlist the efforts of parents, schools, communities, religious organizations, health providers and others to make regular, sustained efforts to give girls the support and encouragement they need.
"We are challenging caring adults to reach out to young girls in their lives," Shalala said. "Despite the aura of independence they project so well, adolescent girls look to their parents and other adults for everyday love, attention, involvement and discipline."
SAMHSA offers a "Girl Power!" packet which includes a Guide for Keeping Youth Drug-Free; a press kit with sample media pieces, fact sheets and radio and print public service announcements adaptable for local use; and a diary for girls containing writing and drawings by girls ages 9 to 14. For more information, visit the Girl Power! Web site at: http://www.health.org/gpower.