Saturday, September 3, 2011

Gender bias in drug use and impact

One thing I have noticed over the years of studying drug use and drug counselling is the bias towards males. In any statistics you come across whether they be rates of use, rates of ODs, rates of viral infections invariably males will be higher. Not always but in the vast majority of cases males will be at the higher rates.

Bike stand

For example see these charts of illicit drug use in Australia. These are typical of the statistics one comes across over and over in terms of gender bias.

Gender bias in drug use

Gender rates of marijuana use

Gender rates of heroin use

I have always wondered why this would be so.
Why should males very consistently be the ones to use more and use more dangerously and so on?



  1. Maybe thinking what is different in the one segment where this does not hold true may help locate the answer. (table 3.14 age 14-19)

  2. A combination of the biological (testosterone) and the social (conditioning to sacrifice and ignore feelings) I would think.

  3. Linda and Evan,

    I think it is safe to say that generally drugs are seen in a negative light by society in general. They are also seen as risky in varying degrees. One could then argue that males are more willing to take such risks and go against what mainstream soceity says how one should behave. In TA terms they have more access to their FC and RC ego states than females do which is quite an interesting sociological statement really.


  4. Hello Kahless,

    Yes i noticed the statistics that you point out in table 3.14. My own thoughts on that is that it could be that younger females are more likely to be introduced to drug use by older boyfriends and so forth. Males are likely to have younger girlfriends at that age and thus less likely to be introduced to drugs by them. That is one explanation anyway.