Monday, May 2, 2011

Male verses Female: Who is more likely to use illicit drugs?

The article was written on 11 November 2010 by the Center for Behavior Health Statistics and Quality for public distribution.  Permission has been granted to reprint the article.

                                             934 AW Drug Demand Reduction Program

Source:  Data Spotlight, SAMHSA Center for Behavior Health Statistics and Quality

Article Title:  Female Veterans Aged 20 to 39 Less Likely to Use Most Substances than Male Counterparts

The proportion of women in the military has grown exponentially since the Vietnam war, and increasingly women have been deployed to combat areas not just as nurses but also as combat support troops. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that in 2009 there were approximately 1.8 million female veterans in the United States. Many of these women had faced the same service-related stressors as their male counterparts, as well as the additional stressors attendant to being a female in a male-dominated profession.1

Although some studies have shown that, overall, veterans are more likely than nonveterans to use substances,2 there are few available published data that compare rates of substance use between female and male veterans. Data from the 2002 to 2009 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (NSDUHs) showed that female veterans were significantly less likely than their male counterparts to engage in binge alcohol use, smoke cigarettes, or use any illicit drugs, including marijuana (Figure). However, female and male veterans were equally likely to engage in nonmedical use of prescription-type drugs.

1Febbraro, A. R., & Gill, R. M. (2010). Gender and military psychology. In J. C. Chrisler & D. R. McCreary (Eds.), Handbook of gender research in psychology. Vol 2: Gender research in social and applied psychology (pp. 671-696). New York: Springer,

2 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies. (November 10, 2005). The NSDUH Report: Substance use, dependence, and treatment among veterans. Rockville, MD