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Substance abuse and women's health.
  • Published Date:
    1987 Jul-Aug
  • Source:
    Public Health Rep. 102(4 Suppl):42-48
  • Language:
    English
Filetype[PDF-1.43 MB]


Details:
  • Personal Authors:
  • Pubmed ID:
    3120220
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMCnull
  • Description:
    The prevalence of illicit drug use is higher among men than women, but new drug use occurs at twice the rate for females as for males. Recent data from emergency rooms and medical examiners support this pattern, but females were more likely than males to report use of tranquilizers, antidepressants, and some nonbarbiturate sedatives. Recent data show that men outnumbered women in drug treatment admissions for all drugs except tranquilizers. However, the 1984 National Institute of Mental Health Epidemiologic Catchment Area Survey shows drug abuse and dependence to be the second most commonly reported disorder for women. Smoking is the most common form of drug dependence in our society, and it has a major impact on women's health. Lung cancer is now the leading cause of cancer deaths among women. Smoking poses a special risk of coronary heart disease for women using oral contraceptives. The incidence of emphysema among women has also risen sharply. Smoking during pregnancy carries special, serious risks. Research strongly suggests that the use of marijuana during pregnancy carries significant risks, including low birth weights and fetal abnormalities. Opiate addiction among women is uncommon, but it carries disproportionate health risks for these women and their offspring; infants born of addicted mothers have much higher morbidity and mortality rates than infants in general. Acquired immune deficiency syndrome is a grave risk to women using intravenous drugs and to their children. There are a number of health problems associated with psychoactive drug use among elderly women. In addition to research, the National Institute on Drug Abuse has focused a number of its activities on the special problems and needs of women. The Institute is collaborating with the health care community to place increased emphasis on prevention and treatment services for women and is working with organizations in the public and private sector to ensure that current information about drug use is effectively disseminated.

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