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Drug abuse more common in men, suggests studies

Features, vocal depth, and body fat are a few common biological factors that differentiate men from women. However, the difference between the two genders is more than just these biological attributes. Exposure and addiction to drugs and alcohol also influence men and women differently. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) suggests that men are more likely than women to use almost all types of illicit drugs. Moreover, emergency visits or drug overdose deaths are more likely to occur in men than women due to the illicit drug usage.

Studies supporting drug abuse more common in men

A number of studies suggest gender to be an important ground of an individual abusing substances. A 1999 National Survey on Drug Use (NSDUH), an annual survey conducted by SAMHSA on more than 25,000 respondents aged over 12 years, revealed that 8.1 percent of males and 4.5 percent of females had used drugs. The interesting aspect of the survey was that the figures had remained constant for the last 29 years.

In his study titled “Drug Use and Gender”, Tammy L. Anderson, Ph.D. stated that the comparative studies from the 1980s and 1990s done to understand the ways in which drug abuse affected females also revealed that drug addiction was more common among men than women. It also pointed out that males begin using drugs at an earlier age and abuse them more often and in larger amounts.

A 2012 Monitoring the Future Survey that tracks the drug usage among American adolescents and young adults also revealed that illicit drug abuse is more common among males in high school and college. However, the numbers were equal in case of younger teens (8th to 10th grade).

The NSDUH conducted in 2013 suggested that 12 percent of males above 12 years were using illegal drugs as compared to 7.3 percent of females. It also mentioned multi-drug use as common among males than in females.

Factors leading to higher drug abuse in males

 Dr. James Anthony, a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)-supported scientist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health in Baltimore suggests that opportunity to use drugs is one of the major factors that create gender difference in drug abuse. He also said that the opportunities available to males are more than those available to females. This factor remains constant for drugs like marijuana, cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin.

Men being praised for virtues like risk-taking, impulsivity, innovation, and leadership also trigger them to abuse drugs. They are more naturally inclined to take risks but are psychologically less capable of dealing with them. Women, on the other hand, always had less freedom to indulge in drugs. The stigma and shame around women having drugs have been prevalent historically as compared to men. But, since both the gender abuse drugs, it is always imperative to seek necessary treatment.

Fighting away drug abuse

Recovering from an addiction requires an understanding about the ways in which drug abuse impacts one’s mind and body. Treatment for addiction is essential for both men and women. If you or your loved one is suffering from any addiction and is looking for some help, the Florida Drug Addiction Helpline can assist you with the right guidance. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-982-2401 or chat online for the best drug rehab centers in Florida.