By Christy Barritt
Military Divorce Rates on the Rise
The Defense Department released statistics confirming that the overall military divorce rate is increasing as part of a continued upward trend since 2001.
Since 2001—when operations started in Afghanistan—the divorce rate among military couples has risen from 2.6 percent in 2001 to 3.7 percent in 2011.
Researchers and military officials think the steady climb is due, in part, to years of repeated deployments taking its toll on marriages.
Exceptions existed among certain subgroups. Fe-males in the Navy, for example, saw a 0.4 percent increase between 2010 and 2011.
The military has several programs aimed at helping families deal with repeated deployments and long absences, and are also encouraging military chaplains to receive training to help in this area.
Clinton and Obama Tackle Gay Rights
On International Human Right’s Day, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a strong 30-minute speech on the importance of gay rights while addressing the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.
In her talk, she said that “gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights” and that “It is a violation of human rights when governments declare it illegal to be gay, or allow those who harm gay people to go unpunished.”
President Obama said later in a memorandum that the U.S. plans on using foreign aid to “promote and protect the human rights of lesbian, gay, and transgender persons.” He also said the people in other countries who are forced to flee homophobic persecutions will be given asylum in the U.S.
Teen Birth Rates Down
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting that the birthrate among 15- to 19-year-olds has dropped in 2010 to nine percent and is now at the lowest rate in nearly 70 years of data collection.
The CDC also reported recently that nearly 75 percent of kids between the ages of 15 and 17 are remaining sexually abstinent.
The bad news from the report is that certain STDs are rising, especially Chlamydia, which has increased 24 percent since 2006 and is at its highest rate in 20 years. Most cases are being found among teenage African-American girls.
One in Nine High School Seniors Uses Synthetic Marijuana
One of every nine high school seniors reported using synthetic marijuana, sometimes called Spice or K2, within the past year.
The University of Michigan, with funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, surveyed 47,000 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-graders from 400 public and private schools for the Monitoring the Future 2011 survey.
Synthetic marijuana, or fake marijuana, is often sold at stores or on the Internet. It’s sometimes marketed as incense because creators treat spices or other leafy substances with chemicals that provide a high when smoked.
This was the first year for the synthetic drug to be included on the drug survey.
Several states have now banned the use of Spice and K2, but creators continue to alter the substance’s chemical properties, making it difficult to maintain prohibition.
Also shown from this survey was that marijuana use is at its highest rate in 30 years.
Christy Barritt is an award-winning author, freelance writer, and speaker living in Chesapeake, Virginia. She and her husband Scott have two sons. www.christybarritt.com