Substance Use in Women and Men


Text Description of Infographic

Figure 1:

Differences in Marijuana Use Disorder


  • develop disorder more quickly1
  • more anxiety disorders2
  • more panic attacks2


  • more severe disorder1
  • more antisocial personality disorders2
  • more of other substance use problems2

Prescription Pain Medicines
Women are less likely to misuse or abuse prescription pain medicines. Four million women report past-year misuse. Five million men report past-year misuse.3

Figure 2:

Treatment for Sleeping Aid Misuse
Women are more likely to seek treatment for misuse of barbiturates. Fifty-five percent of past-year treatment admissions for barbiturate misuse are women. Forty-five percent of past-year treatment admissions for barbiturate misuse are men.4

Quitting Nicotine
Nicotine replacement options, such as the patch or gum, are less effective for women than for men.  Quit rates after 6 months on the nicotine patch were 14.7 percent for women and 20.1 percent for men.5


  1. Hernandez-Avila CA, Rounsaville BJ, Kranzler HR. Opioid-, cannabis- and alcohol-dependent women show more rapid progression to substance abuse treatment. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2004;74(3):265-272.
  2. Thomas H. A community survey of adverse effects of cannabis use. Drug Alcohol Depend. 1996;42(3):201-207.
  3. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (CBHSQ). Table 1.58A. Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; 2015.   
  4. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS). Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions by Primary Substance of Abuse, According to Sex, Age Group, Race, and Ethnicity, Year = 2012, United States.
  5. Perkins KA, Scott J. Sex differences in long-term smoking cessation rates due to nicotine patchNicotine Tob Res. 2008;10(7):1245-1250.

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