During the 1990s, only men were studied on substance abuse until more federally-funded studies enrolled more women later. Because the bodies of women are built more differently than men, they are more at risk of developing addiction than men.

In a 2010 study from the American Journal of Public Health, it was said that women are more likely to be addicted to opioids than men and may continue long-term. Women may develop an opioid addiction due to emotional issues while men misuse for legal and behavioral problems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that women have more chronic pain than men, are prescribed painkillers, are given higher doses, and are more dependent on them than men. The CDC also says from 1999-2010, the opioid overdose death increased 400% in women compared to the 237% in men. The National Center for Health Statistics tripled in women from 2010-2013.

Women are also more likely to develop alcohol dependence as well as develop liver and brain damage. Because women weigh less, their bodies have less water and more fatty tissue. Fat keeps alcohol in the body and water dilutes it so the organs are more easily damaged in women than in men. Women also have lower levels of two enzymes that metabolize alcohol which absorbs faster in the bloodstream.

Harvard Health says that female smokers are more at risk of nicotine addiction. They can develop a heart attack or develop lung cancer. It is harder for women to quit smoking and tend to restart faster if they have previously quit. Women tend to be more responsive to environmental triggers like wanting to have a smoke while having a drink whereas men are attracted to the nicotine. This makes nicotine replacement therapy tends to work better on men than women.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine says that women being exposed to alcohol, nicotine, benzodiazepines, opioids, and cocaine can affect pregnancies. Women can give their baby neonatal abstinence syndrome or have a stillbirth. Substance abuse can also present a high risk of HIV and Hepatitis C in the mother and the child. Instead of judging women for child abuse and giving them a jail sentence, lawmakers need to think of caring for the mother and their child by giving them the proper care they need. Both genders need to be given treatment for substance abuse and to take care of their bodies.

Located in downtown Midland, The Springboard Center’s mission is to offer programs and services to treat alcohol and drug addiction treatment using an evidence based curriculum, 12 step programs, diet, nutrition, exercise, emotional, mental and spiritual development for a long recovery. For more information, please call us at 432-620-0255 as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.