How Does Gender Impact On Drug Use

Although tobacco is the most common form of drug addiction there are other much more harmful drugs around. Women do not account for a large proportion of serious drug abuse – only twenty per cent and twenty-seven per cent of opiate users are women, but many of these women who are have been studied in Britains female penal institutes. Margaret Malloch did research into female drug users in prison and from her findings there are many interesting facts about the feminine side of drug taking.

The women in this study show that like men they take drugs for a variety of different reasons and got into drug taking through various channels but one of the most common reasons for women taking drugs is that it allows them to cope with everyday life by “clouding over” reality. One of the main points made by this article is the outward appearance that drug addiction gives you. “”I’ve never been this size before, I’m usually really, really skinny…

not having the drugs because drugs really do keep the weight off (Mandy, age 18) in the article I will come to later on men and drug use there is no mention of the affect that drug taking has on your looks. Despite the fact that these women are supposedly deviant and unfeminine there is still a very “female” approach to their way of thinking. They are worried about putting on weight, the track marks and scars all over their bodies and in very severe cases the abscesses caused by injecting too much. One of the ways in which drug use (especially drug abuse) has more of an impact on females is in the area of childcare.

Drug users generally come from working class areas and a lot are lone parents, women are reluctant to come forward and admit to having a drug children because they are worried that it will result in their children being taken away from them For women it is deemed more acceptable to be addicted to prescribed drugs such as tranquillisers even if they are taken illegally as there are fewer stigmas attached to it. Many women are prescribed these drugs in prison, a study by the Committee on Women’s Imprisonment showed that fifty per cent of women prisoners are taking some form of powerful drug acting on the central nervous system.

This problem is highlighted by the case of Emma Humphreys who was imprisoned for ten years for the murder of her abusive boyfriend. Whilst in prison she became addicted to Chloral Hydrate, a sleeping draught with unpleasant side effects. This medication should be taken for no more than six weeks at a maximum dose of two grams daily. Emma Humphreys had been taking it for thirteen years at far higher doses when she died from an (unintentional) overdose. A post mortem revealed over twenty-three times the recommended dosage of the drug in her system.

Julie Bindel of Justice For Women is quoted as saying “to put it bluntly there are masses of women in our prisons being kept junked up to the eyeballs with no thought to their long term mental or physical health. ” There has also been lots of research done about male prisoners and the effects that drugs have had on their lives. Mike Collinson studied a group of eighty men aged seventeen to twenty-one in a male prison in 1996. Of those eighty prisoners fifty-nine per cent admitted that drugs featured centrally and excessively in their lives.

Only eight of the prisoners had never used drugs and of the seventy-two that had, three-quarters revealed that their drug use had begun at the same time as their criminal career. Forty-five per cent of these young men admitted to having been involved in drug distribution in quite a central way yet only four out of the eighty prisoners were in prison on drug related convictions. To these young men it is a crime that pays very well but with very little risk. The crime area of drugs is overwhelmingly gender biased with ninety per cent of drug crime being committed by males.

This difference is further biased by the fact that large proportions of female convicts of drug crime are foreign nationals who receive lengthy sentences for drug trafficking offences. For the males in this article drugs were a large part of their image, taking the right drugs was like having the right trainers and the right labels on their clothes. The resounding message that comes across from the article on these young men is how very important image is, how important it is to fit in, to be one of the lads – and drugs play a central issue in their acceptance to the group.

Female drug users don’t appear to have this same sort of peer-pressure, or if they do it is generally not from their friends. For many of the young men in this article, and also for the male drug taking population in general, class plays a large part in their drug habit. Lower class males in their late teens or twenties have dominated heroin use since the 1980’s. These men’s fathers were working class but for this generation of working class males there is no work so they appear to have formed a new underclass – “a class structurally downwardly mobile from the working class” .

So far I have focused mainly on the different sort of experiences that men and women have with drugs. However there is one area of drugs culture were men and women are both as equally involved in the whole drugs experience. This is with the recent influx of “dance drugs” and the whole dance experience. The main drug in this area is MDMA or “Ecstasy”, this gives people dance energy, feelings of blissful empathy and a sideways absurdist angle on the world. Before the advent of dance drugs (ecstasy, amphetamines, LSD) women on drugs were seen as victims of drugs.

They were pathetic, passive, psychologically and socially inadequate and incapable of shouldering responsibilities. The raves where these drugs are most in evident allow women to be part of the drugs scene with confidence, not on the sidelines as previously was the case with other drugs. Girls are not getting these drugs through their boyfriends but are fully involved in all parts of the drug process “these young women were evidently not being frog-marched into drug use by men and were not leading deeply unhappy lives as a resut of their drug use”

There are a few special precautions with women when taking ecstasy in that they may cause irregular periods or stop periods altogether, but apart from that there seem to be no implications from taking the drug that apply to either gender specifically. “It is upon the biological difference between the male and female body that the edifice of gender inequality is built and legitimised (McNay, 1992, p. 17)” . No one is born as a drug user, or born with the pre-determination to get into drugs, this applies to both men and women, so for either gender, drug use occurs because of life experiences. Do the same life experiences apply for both sexes?

Drug abuse is an evident problem in today’s society, particularly in Britain which has the highest number of drug deaths in Europe. This issue causes the destruction of thousands of lives every year, not only those who are taking the …

There are many different types of gender bias that has been identified within psychology. The main two are: Alpha bias – this type of bias exaggerates the differences in males and females Beta bias – this minimises the differences between …

Reducing drug-related youth crime and improving the youth justice system forms an important aspect of the solution to the problems related to use of drugs. In order to solve the problem of drug abuse and drug related crime, the UK …

Among the myriad differences between men and women is the manner in which they are influenced by and respond to depression. From environmental to social and cultural to chemical, the divergent factors that categorize depression as having separate indicators and …

David from Healtheappointments:

Hi there, would you like to get such a paper? How about receiving a customized one? Check it out