Costa Rican teenagers living in Guanacaste, Limón and Puntarenas are in social risk due to drug abuse, violence, poor eating habits, and an early sexual initiation.
The Children’s Hospital (HNN) latest research, released an alarming data that shows a precocious knowledge about sex, violence, drug and bad nutrition.
The study sample included 3,074 students from public and private schools in the above-mentioned provinces.
26% of youngsters interviewed for the study admitted to be sexually active. Of this group, 55% said that their first experience was at the age of 13-15, while 15% said that it was even before.
More than half (60%) of that sexually active population said they use condoms as a method of birth control and STD protection; however, 30% admitted they don’t frequently use any kind of protection.
Another concerning aspect is the early age at which youngsters get exposed to pornography. 50% said that they often watch this type of material, 68% of them through their cell phones.
The increase in teenage pregnancies is partially related to this behavior,”
said Dr. Alberto Morales who works in the Hospital.
The use of drugs is also a concern, especially because the study shows that 53% of female teens are consuming alcohol vs. 47% of male teens. Eleven to fourteen is the average age for the beginning of these drinking habits.
In the case of cigarettes, the ratio is 57% of men, compared with 43% of women.
But this problem doesn’t end there. Marijuana is gaining ground in those provinces and at least 78% of teenagers admitted that they had try it.
To a lesser extent, but no less alarming, 7% of boys confessed the use of cocaine, 4% ecstasy and heroin and 6% some other type of drugs.
Another alarming data is that 9% of teenagers in these provinces admitted to carry guns to their schools, while 4% said they carry it with them to the streets.