According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 5.7% of women have a substance use disorder in the United States.
According to NESARC data from that same year, 3% of American women suffer from a drug use disorder, while 10.4% suffer from an alcohol use disorder.
Between 1999 and 2010, just over 48,000 women died from prescription pain reliever overdose. Between 2010 and 2015, over 50,000 women died from a drug overdose. (These numbers exclude alcohol related deaths and causes.)
Research has also shown that women are more likely to have chronic pain, be prescribed prescription pain relievers by their doctors and use them for long periods of time.
It's also important to note that biologically, substance use disorder in women progresses at a faster rate than men, and believe it or not, women are more susceptible to craving and relapse. Physiological differences accelerate the progression of addiction, as women metabolize alcohol and drugs differently. Fewer stomach enzymes and more fatty tissue slow down the processing of alcohol and other drugs, causing the body to be exposed to higher concentrations of the substance longer.
If you or someone you love has an addiction problem, please reach out for help. Call SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP. SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.