Fine Young Man: What Parents, Mentors, and Educators Can Do to
Shape Adolescent Boys into Exceptional Men
ALCOHOL AND DRUGS: EFFECTS ON BOYS
Tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs affect boys and girls differently.
Here's what you should know:
Parents have enormous power over a child's well-being but too many
fail to appreciate and use this power. Study after study has shown:
Parental involvement makes a critical difference in children's lives.
Parents can influence their children if they reach them early and
if they continue to reinforce strong values and a positive message
throughout their teen years.
Everybody knows that smoking can cause the biggest health killer...heart
disease, stroke and cancer. Smoking can also contribute to infertility...and
guys...be aware: new studies show it can also affect potency as well.
If you smoke, you're playing Russian roulette with your sexual function.
in fact, if you smoke, you're about twice as likely to have erectile
dysfunction. Smokeless tobacco carries many of the health risks of cigarettes.
Overall, male students are significantly more likely than female students
to have used smokeless tobacco.
When you start to drink at a young age, you are also putting yourself
at greater risk later on. Kids who started to drink before age 15 are
four times more likely to get hooked on alcohol than those who began
to drink after age 21. Alcohol robs you of your ability to think and
can damage your body by creating stomach problems, loss of memory, impotence,
liver damage and more. Binge drinking brings with it serious alcohol-related
problems, such as unprotected and unplanned sex, getting into trouble
with police, damage to property and getting hurt or injured, driving
under the influence or riding with a driver who was high or drunk, getting
behind in school work or doing something you later regret. No question
about it, underage drinking can damage and jeopardize your health and
lifetime prospects. And boys are more likely than girls to report heavy
There are stronger forms
of marijuana available to kids today than in the 1960s which means stronger
effects. There are serious consequences to marijuana use, especially
for teens, which include impairment of short-term memory, concentration
and motor skills, critical for a child's intellectual and social development;
greater likelihood of use of another illegal drug such as cocaine or
heroin; increased likelihood of having unprotected sex or sex with multiple
partners, leaving them at greater risk of pregnancy, AIDS and other
sexually transmitted diseases; possible long-term physical and psychological
dependence and/or slowed reaction time, impaired coordination and decrease
attention span, leading to increased highway accidents and fatalities.
National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia