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Does Opioid Addiction Differ by Gender?

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Men and women abuse opioid drugs in different ways. While men tend to have higher rates of dependence on opioids like heroin, women who depend less on illegal use of opioids are just as likely to have drug abuse disorders. Since women use drugs differently and also have to grapple with the challenges of pregnancy and childcare, it’s important to understand how gender affects opioid addiction and its treatment.

Women and Opioid Addiction

Women are more likely to experience chronic pain. Consequently, women who are of reproductive age may obtain more opioid prescriptions than those who are below or above that age. Women are also more likely to use prescription opioids without obtaining a prescription from a doctor because they want to alleviate their pain.

This can happen even when they report similar pain levels as men. In addition, women have a higher tendency to misuse opioids, previously prescribed for pain to self-treat themselves for tension or anxiety. Statistics published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show that seven in 10 prescription drug deaths involving women include pain killers.

Men and Opioid Addiction

Men are more prone to abusing opioids than women and have higher rates of opioid abuse. This is means men are more likely to visit the emergency room or experience overdose deaths.

Men who use heroin are more likely to use greater amounts for a longer time and are more likely to inject it. For this reason, more men die from addiction to opioids every year than women. Men are also less likely to complain about pain, which could also lead to higher consumption of opioids and substance abuse.

Heroin Abuse

When compared with men, women who use heroin are younger, and they’re likely to use smaller amounts for a short time. Women are also less likely to use the drug through injections, and they’re more influenced by sex partners who use the drug.

Women who do inject themselves with heroin likely do so because of social pressure. This puts them at high risk of dying due to a high amount of heroin entering the body through injection. Also, women who inject themselves with heroin are likely to be using prescription drugs at the same time, which is an unhealthy combination.

Prescription Drug Abuse

Data obtained from the National Institute on Drug Abuse indicates that in 2016, 9,978 men and 7,109 women died from taking an excessive amount of prescription opioids. This shows that men are at a higher risk of dying from addiction to opioid use than women.

Contact Your Local BAART Program Center

We help both men and women overcome opioid addiction at our treatment centers. We use medication-assisted treatment to help you or your family members recover from addiction without withdrawal symptoms. Give us a call today at 844.341.4040, or reach out to us through our contact page. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

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