CT Clearinghouse

Opioids and Women

National data consistently show that gender is an important fact to consider when examining patterns of substance abuse, such as overall prevalence rates and substances of choice. For example, males are more likely than females to report marijuana and alcohol use, whereas females are more likely than males to report non-medical use of prescription drugs.


Research & Statistics

  • Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon Generals Spotlight on Opioids

    The Spotlight on Opioids assembles opioid-related information from the Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health into one document to better inform the general public, especially family and friends of people with an elevated risk of opioid overdose, opioid misuse, and/or opioid use disorder.

  • Facts About Women and Trauma

    Research indicates that women are twice as likely to develop PTSD, experience a longer duration of posttraumatic symptoms and display more sensitivity to stimuli that remind them of the trauma.

  • Final Report: Opioid Use, Misuse, and Overdose in Women

    This report was developed as part of an initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    (HHS) Office on Women’s Health (OWH) to examine prevention, treatment, and recovery issues for
    women who misuse opioids, have opioid use disorders (OUDs), and/or overdose on opioids.

  • Opioid Use Disorder Documented at Delivery Hospitalization

    Hospital discharge data from the 1999–2014 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) were analyzed to describe U.S. national and state-specific trends in opioid use disorder documented at delivery hospitalization.

  • Sex and Gender Issues in Substance Use

    Scientists who study substance use have discovered special issues related to hormones, menstrual cycle, fertility, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause that can impact women’s struggles with drug use. 

  • Women and Addiction: A Trauma Informed Approach

    Over the past thirty years, our knowledge of women’s
    lives has increased dramatically, and we have added significantly
    to our understanding of the treatment needs of women
    who are addicted to alcohol and other drugs.


The opioid epidemic's disproportionate impact on women is the latest, and most destructive, symptom of wider gender-based disparities that leave millions of American women in worse health than men.

Data show that deaths among women from opioid overdose have increased at a much faster rate than for men, 400% compared with 265%. And states where doctors write the most opioid prescriptions per 100 residents are also the states with the widest overall disparities between men's and women's health.