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Whippersnappers Have Sex and Smoke Cigarettes

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Aug 26, 2011 6:40PM

Photo by Flickr user posephp.
About 37 percent of teens in Cook County suburbs have had sex, according to a survey by the Cook County Department of Public Health. The survey looked at teens' experience with sex, drugs and violence and found some interesting, albeit somewhat sad facts.

About 40 percent of teens reported having smoked cigarettes, and 33 percent say they'd smoked marijuana. About 2 percent of students said they'd tried heroin, and cocaine and ecstasy were each around 5 percent.

About 7 percent of teens said they'd been forced to have sex against their will, and 6 percent of the teens said they had sex before age 13. Public health spokeswoman Amy Poore said the study shows a need for better sex education programs in suburban Cook County schools. The Sun-Times writes:

“Most schools don’t have comprehensive sex education and are teaching abstinence only, but clearly we have a high amount of students who are engaging in sexual activity,” Poore said.

The survey also showed that within the last year, about 9 percent of teens had attempted suicide. About 13 percent of all students had considered attempting suicide.

This Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey was the first survey of its kind for suburban Cook County. We were unable to find a similar studies from previous years to see if this is an increase or decrease since previous years.