Women and Drug Addiction

Drug addiction is an international problem that impacts women of all ages and demographics; and the statistics of drug use continue to rise. According to research from the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA):

  • Over 30% of women (over the age of 12) have used an illicit drug at least once.
  • Five million women in the United States used drugs in the month preceding the survey.
  • Almost 35 million women had used marijuana at least once.
  • Over 603,000 women had used cocaine in the preceding month; over 250,000 had used crack cocaine.
  • Over 547,000 women had used hallucinogens (including LSD and PCP) in the preceding month.
  • Almost a million women have used a needle to inject drugs.
  • Over a million females had taken prescription drugs (sedatives, tranquilizers, or analgesics) for a non-medical purpose during the preceding month.

Women at Risk

Because research suggests that women may become more quickly addicted than men to certain drugs, it puts women at greater risk for serious health issues including the following:

  • Poor nutrition and below-average weight
  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression
  • Physical abuse
  • If pregnant, preterm labor or early delivery
  • Serious medical and infectious diseases (e.g., increased blood pressure and heart rate, STDs, HIV/AIDS)

Why Women Take Drugs

Women of all races, income groups, levels of education, and types of communities, and socioeconomic status suffer from drug addiction. Research reports that many women who use drugs have faced challenges to their well-being during their lives including these problems:

  • 70 percent of drug abusing women report histories of physical and sexual abuse
  • women are far more likely than men to report a parental history of alcohol and drug abuse
  • women who use drugs suffer with low self-esteem, little self-confidence, depression, and loss of power and control

Treatment for Women

Fear is a primary reason that women who use drugs do not seek help. They are afraid that their children may be taken from them, afraid that their spouses may leave the, afraid that they may be ostracized from church, social groups, and community activities.

Therefore, the drug treatment programs that would most benefit women would clearly address not only the physical addiction issues, but the emotional and mental ailments that address issues such as fear. Women may require a more comprehensive treatment program to meet the broad scope of issues their drug addiction reveals including these factors:

  • Food, clothing, and shelter
  • Transportation
  • Job counseling and training
  • Legal assistance
  • Literacy training and educational opportunities
  • Parenting training
  • Family therapy
  • Couples counseling
  • Medical care
  • Child care
  • Social services
  • Social support
  • Psychological assessment and mental health care
  • Assertiveness training
  • Family planning services

Therefore, traditional drug treatment programs may not provide this full scope of services, so it is important for women to contact prospective treatment programs to learn about the services they offer. In addition to seeking the services listed above, there are other factors that research has indicated increase the effectiveness of treatment for women including:

  • a continuing relationship with a treatment provider
  • the support and encouragement of the community
  • services to assist them in sustaining their recovery
  • help and support of significant others, family members, and friends.

Get Help for Drug Addiction

Determining when a person’s use of Drug moves from therapeutic to addictive is difficult to do, especially if the person is a family member or friend. However, it is possible and we can help, so please call our toll-free number today. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about Drug addiction treatment. We are here to help.