Drug use and problems unique to women have received insufficient attention in research and there is also a lack of female scientists investigating the issue.
In 2016, two editorials published in leading journals The Lancet and Addiction highlighted how little is known about women and drugs. Not only did these editorials point to a blind spot in our collective knowledge, but they suggested that this deficit has been compounded by a lack of female scientists investigating the issue. Men dominate the science and editorial leadership of academic journals. There are a number of factors that have led to us having less knowledge about problematic drug use in women than in men.
Drug misuse is not a niche activity, with one-third of adults using an illicit drug at least once in their lifetime. Adding regulated drugs such as alcohol and tobacco raises population-level drug use further. However, there are distinct gender differences. In most national surveys of drug use, men tend to outnumber women by two to one. The British Crime Survey has found this ratio to be stable over time, recording this gender difference since 1996.