Journal Article

Gender and Illicit Drug Use

Joanne Neale

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 34, issue 6, pages 851-870
Published in print September 2004 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online September 2004 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Gender and Illicit Drug Use

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There has been no recent large-scale systematic UK investigation of differences between male and female drug users seeking treatment. Equally, there has been no debate within the social work field regarding how best to address any gender-specific needs of drug-using clients. This is despite the fact that social workers frequently work with both drug-dependent individuals and members of their families. This paper examines differences between men and women beginning a new episode of drug treatment in Scotland and considers some of the implications of the findings for social work practice. Data were collected from structured interviews conducted with 1,033 individuals (715 males and 318 females) in a range of treatment settings. Chi-square statistics were computed to investigate sex differences on key categorical variables relating to: (i) patterns of drug use; (ii) education, employment and income; (iii) offending behaviour; (iv) housing circumstances; (v) health status; and (vi) personal relationships. Analyses identified many differences between the men and women interviewed, but also many common difficulties faced by respondents of both sexes. Additionally, the extensive range of problems and stressful life circumstances encountered suggested that the lives of individuals seeking drug treatment were extremely heterogeneous. It is concluded that social workers can employ a range of practical interventions and theoretical approaches when working with both male and female drug-using clients.

Keywords: substance misuse; gender; survey

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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