A detailed study of women in treatment for drug addition in England shows a 19 percent fall in the number of adult females under 30 entering heroin programmes over the last five years – 1,000 fewer female addicts than in 2005. The fall is even sharper – 26 percent – for the 18-25 age-group, providing further evidence that the heroin epidemic of previous decades may have peaked.
Although part of the trend was offset by rising numbers of cocaine and crack addicts seeking
treatment over the same period, the numbers of women entering treatment in the under 30 age
group fell by nearly nine per cent in four years.
The study also showed that at the same time the numbers of women problem drug users
successfully leaving treatment having overcome their addiction almost doubled. In addition, the
number of women dropping out of treatment has fallen by well over a third in four years.
The study by the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA) also highlights:
- While women start using drugs at the same age or slightly older than men, they are more adept at seeking help for themselves and tend to come into treatment earlier
- Cocaine is the fastest growing treatment need among women drug users, accounting for a 55 per cent increase in new entrants since 2005
- The number of women entering treatment for crack dependency has increased by 14 percent since 2005
- Almost two-thirds of women entering treatment are mothers, nearly half of whom have a child living with them. The data indicates that treatment outcomes for mothers are stronger than those who were not parents.
“These findings demonstrate how thousands of women have successfully obtained drug treatment and recovered through it,” said Rosanna O’Connor, NTA director of delivery. “Treatment is the first step on the road to recovery, so it is encouraging that women tend to seek help of their own volition, enter treatment earlier before their drug misuse has become entrenched and frequently achieve better outcomes sooner. Treatment provides the opportunity for individuals to get better, for families to stabilise, and for children to be looked-after at home.”