TEENS: Would your parents be upset if they discovered that you smoked marijuana? Shockingly, they may not be. A recent nationwide study involving over 1,200 parents of teens, conducted by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, found that barely half of the parents would be upset to learn their children were experimenting with pot.
According to the survey, today's parents were more likely to have used drugs than in previous generations, see less risk in drug experimentation and are therefore less likely to speak to their children about it. The number of parents who have never spoken with their children about drugs was about 12 percent, double what it was just six years ago. While most of the parents who responded no longer use drugs themselves, 11 percent reported that they continue their marijuana habit.
Among other findings in this survey:
While parents believe it's important to discuss drugs with their children, only about 3 in 10 children say they've learned very much about drug risks at home.
Only 18 percent of parents believed their children have smoked marijuana, but the number of teens experimenting with it is, in fact, 39 percent.
Just 21 percent of parents believe friends of their children are using marijuana, but 62 percent of teens report they have friends who have used the drug in some form.
SHOULD I GAMBLE THAT I'M OK?
DR. WALLACE: I'm 17 and so is my so-called boyfriend. We have been dating for over a year and started having sex about five months ago. I was a virgin, and my boyfriend is the only one I've been sexually active with. Several weeks ago, I found out that my "boyfriend" has been having sex with several other girls. My best friend told me because two of the girls are friends with her cousin who knows these girls quite well.
When I confronted my guy with this bit of information, he denied it, but the next day, he admitted his sexual interactions with four other girls over a two-month period. My boyfriend was also a virgin when we started our sexual activities. I was under the impression that we were going to be faithful to one another, but it's now obvious that I was wrong and naive making that assumption.
I have already dropped him and will never go out with him again. Most of the time we were sexually active, he used protection, but there were times in the past two months that he didn't. I'm positive I'm not pregnant, but it's the possibility of having a sexually transmitted disease that bothers me. In fact, I feel dirty, really dirty.
Should I gamble that I am not infected or should I see a doctor to be sure? I can't go to our family doctor because he goes to our church and I would be beyond embarrassed to tell him about my sexual affair. — Anonymous, Louisville, Kentucky
ANONYMOUS: You should see a doctor immediately. Talk to a female counselor or physical education teacher and ask her to recommend a female gynecologist. You will feel more comfortable discussing your situation with her. Please do this as soon as possible. You don't want to take a risk with your health, and if it turns out that you are physically fine, it will be a relief for you mentally as well.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.