Women Under-Represented in Substance Use Treatment Globally

"To be equally represented in treatment, the ratio of males to females in treatment should be similar to the ratio of males to females in problem drug use. Using past-month prevalence as a proxy for problematic use,24 gender-disaggregated data from EMCDDA on past-month prevalence and outpatient clients in treatment suggest that in most countries in Europe females could be underrepresented in treatment for the problematic use of cannabis, cocaine and amphetamines (see figure 5). There are few studies that analyse gender differences in the accessibility of treatment services; however, the ratio of males and females reported in treatment in Europe was 4:1 — higher than the ratio between male and female drug users.25 In many developing countries, there are limited services for the treatment and care of female drug users and the stigma associated with being a female drug user can make accessibility to treatment even more difficult. In Afghanistan, for instance, 10 per cent of all estimated drug users have access to treatment services,26 whereas only 4 per cent of female drug users and their partners have access to treatment services and interventions."


UN Office on Drugs and Crime, World Drug Report 2012 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.12.XI.1), p. 16.