Substance misuse – the gender divide explained

Alcohol and Drug Foundation, February 21, 2018

Men generally consume harmful substances at higher rates than women – this is true both within Australia and internationally. But while the research points to the prevalence of substance misuse disorders among women in Australia as being around half that of men, they are more likely to be socially criticised as a result of their use/misuse.

This criticism stems from the continuation of traditional gender-based roles assigned to women within our society, which in turn generates and perpetuates social and institutional stigma. One of the end results of this is a reduction in women seeking out treatment services for alcohol and other drug-related (AOD) issues. Which, in turn, has reduced the opportunity for research into many of the gender-specific factors that drive women’s AOD misuse, as well as reducing the quality and efficacy of AOD treatment services for them.

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