Two reports released in early July revealed that whilst young people seem to be turning their backs on drugs, men are still a staggering three times more likely to be frequent drug users than women are.
Although young women are now drinking almost as much as men, the gap between genders when it comes to drug use has remained consistent for the last decade. This is no doubt linked to the fact that men are less likely to consider the risks of drug taking. A previous government survey found that 27 percent of men think it’s safe to smoke cannabis compared to just 15 percent of females.
Dr Adam Winstock, a psychiatrist specialising in addiction and drug abuse has said that men are naturally more prone to taking risks which is something that is with us since birth.
“We (men) get into accidents more regularly, we have more unhealthy lifestyles, we die earlier, we have less insight into our health and wellbeing. We’re generally predisposed to engage in a whole bunch of risky behaviours while being psychologically less equipped to deal with them.”
Dr Winstock also asserted that there’s a lot more shame and stigma surrounding women who take drugs than there is against men. This means that women are less likely to disclose their drug use to peers which limits their access to these substances - if nobody knows they’re taking them then nobody is going to offer it to them.
“Historically, women have had less freedom to use drugs. There are different expectations of them and they probably have different expectations of themselves as well.”
It was also found that when women need treatment for drug addiction, the way they have been introduced to drugs is very different. Men are more likely to develop problems after experimenting with their peers. Women on the other hand are more likely to need drug rehabilitation because they have been in a relationship with a man who is using.
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