The 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicated that close to 12 percent of American males age 12 and older were currently using illegal drugs, compared with just over 7.3 percent of females in the same age group.
Multi-drug use was also more common in males than in females.
However, in younger teens (8th to 10th grade), girls tend to abuse drugs at the same rate as boys.
What accounts for the difference in male and female drug use?
Recent research also indicates that gender can affect the individual’s response to drugs and his or her likelihood of becoming addicted.
In studying drug abuse between the genders, it’s important to look closely at effective recovery therapies as well as patterns and consequences of substance abuse.CDC Vital Signs states that opioid overdose deaths have increased by 400 percent among women since 1999.By comparison, fatal opioid overdoses have increased among men by approximately 265 percent in that time.The frequency of psychiatric conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, anorexia, and bulimia — all of which are associated with an increased risk of substance abuse — among women may be partly responsible for their vulnerability to chemical dependence and addiction.The nonmedical use of prescription drugs — including painkillers, tranquilizers, and sedatives — is a growing problem in the United States.Nationwide studies confirm that even though addiction develops more commonly in women, more men enter rehab at specialized treatment facilities.The 2014 TEDS Report includes the following statistics: Studies of drug addiction treatment show that drug abuse patterns vary not only by gender, but also by age.Although statistics show that more men abuse prescription drugs than women, the gap between the genders is narrowing.Among younger females ages 12 to 17, prescription drug abuse is more prevalent than in males, according to Gender Medicine.Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology proposes that differences in brain chemistry and the influence of female sex hormones like estrogen may account for women’s susceptibility to certain drugs, including stimulants like meth and cocaine.The incidence of mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders is higher in women than in men, which may predispose females to become addicted to certain substances.