Leading experts in mental health and substance abuse are meeting at the University of York in June to discuss Women and Addictions. The latest figures show that one in 20 women in England and Wales has used drugs in the last year and additionally only one in 10 women who need treatment actually access drug services.
In a bid to rectify the lack of attention given to women and their specific needs, the University of York will bring together experts drawn from research, policy and treatment. Ian Hamilton (a lecturer in mental health in the Department of Health Sciences) believes that little is known about the hundreds of thousands of women who do not seek help and there are number of reasons why women do not access services. He says:
“Treatment settings can be daunting places for women to access as many women will have experienced domestic violence and treatment clinics are dominated by male patients,” he said.
“Despite the complex problems that women experience their specific needs and problems are routinely ignored in research and policy; for decades attention has focussed predominantly on the needs of men.”
He also suggests women were underrepresented at every level of scientific enquiry in the area and this is partly because senior academic journal editorials are predominantly men in the field of addiction.
The organisers have invited Dr Gail Gilchrist to speak at the Women and drugs event as they believe her seminal research on intimate partner violence has made a significant contribution to the understanding of the interplay between substance use and mental health. Dr Gilchrist is also able to provide an international perspective on the issues to be discussed as she has led research in Australia, South America and Europe.
The event will include live broadcasts and interviews with speakers and women who have experienced drug abuse.
The broadcasts can be viewed here
This can be followed on twitter via the hashtag – #womenanddrugs