Substance abuse and addiction can be challenging to understand for many people. Why people do drugs, why they choose particular drugs, and why some users seem more addicted than others? These are questions people often wonder. And truthfully, everyone has a story. While everyone’s is different, there can be similarities and patterns as well. A group of researchers were curious themselves. They wanted to know if there were any connections between addiction and gender. They performed a study that looked into the prevalence and drug choice between men and women. Results also showed patterns related to age as well.

So apparently it turns out that men over the age of 18 have almost twice the rate of substance dependence than adult women. However, when looking at substance abuse among youth between ages 12-17, dependence for both genders are the same. Just because drug use is more common for adult men, doesn’t mean women aren’t just as likely to become addicted.


The study looked into 1.84 million admissions to substance abuse treatment. 69.9% of were male and 33.1% were female. There wasn’t meaningful gender differences when looking at race and ethnicity. Majority of admissions were non-hispanic white. Percentage of non-hispanic black and hispanic were similar.


The study analyzed six most commonly reported substances of abuse: alcohol, marijuana, heroin, prescription pain relievers, cocaine, and methamphetamine/amphetamines. The most common substance abused by females was alcohol, followed by heroin, marijuana, and prescription pain relievers. For me, the most frequently reported substance abused was marijuana, followed by heroin, and prescription pain relievers.


Understanding patterns between addiction, age, and gender helps us understand how to improve outreach, prevention, and treatment programs. When we’re able to understand more about people and addiction - how it’s being used, why, and when - we can be more effective in how we help society.


Like stated above, everyone has a story. It’s important we look into individuals as well. Not just generalize based on these patterns. Yes, it’s useful information in helping us understand a bigger picture; however, at Crownview Co-Occurring Institute, we believe in individualized treatment designed around each person’s specific needs.


If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, male or female, of any age, please contact us to get in touch with a medical professional who can create a plan to help you live your ultimate life.



760.433.HELP (4357)
315 N. Clementine Street
Oceanside, CA 92054

2892 Jefferson Street
Carlsbad, CA 92008 

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760.433.HELP (4357)