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Experts gather at York to discuss drug use among women

Posted on 24 May 2017

Some of the country’s leading experts on mental health and substance abuse will gather at the University of York next month to “end the silence” surrounding women and addiction.

One in 20 women in England and Wales have used a drug in the last year 

Although men are more likely to use drugs than women, a significant number of women do use narcotics.

According to the latest figures, an estimated one in 20 women in England and Wales have used a drug in the last year and of these over 87,000 will be in specialist drug treatment.

However, the figures also reveal that only one in 10 women who need treatment access services.

In a bid to rectify the lack of attention given to women and their specific needs, the University of York will bring together experts drawn from research, policy and treatment.

Ian Hamilton, a lecturer in mental health in the Department of Health Sciences at York, said little is known about the hundreds of thousands of women who don’t seek help.

“Treatment settings can be daunting places for women to access as many women will have experienced domestic violence and treatment clinics are dominated by male patients,” he said.

“Despite the complex problems that women experience their specific needs and problems are routinely ignored in research and policy; for decades attention has focussed predominantly on the needs of men. “

Mr Hamilton said women were underrepresented at every level of scientific enquiry in the area.

He added: “Several leading academic journals editorials over the last year suggest our collective ignorance of women’s needs is no accident.

“It is predominantly men who are in senior academic and publishing positions in the field of addiction.”

Mr Hamilton said he hoped the event, being held at the University’s King’s Manor on 2 June, would help “end the silence” regarding women and addiction.

The event will include live broadcasts and interviews with speakers and women who have experienced drug abuse.

The broadcasts can be viewed here - and followed on twitter via the hashtag - #womenanddrugs

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