Men more likely than women to receive emergency room referrals to drug detox

gender differences detox

Men are nearly twice as likely as women to receive referrals to drug detox programs upon discharge from emergency departments, a recent study found.

Researchers from The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University analyzed 2004-2011 data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) and found that even though there was a similar proportion of men and women who sought detox, men were 1.9 times more likely to receive referrals to drug detox from emergency room doctors.

In 2011, there were almost 24 million Americans who were 12 or older that used illicit drugs, of which the number of women was growing faster than men. Overdose deaths among women soared 500 percent in the past 10 years, compared to an increase of 360 percent in men.

Previous research has shown that women have a higher likelihood of suffering from co-occurring mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression than men and experience more severe substance use disorders, which suggests that women should have received more referrals to treatment than men.

However, researchers attributed four factors to the lower rate of referrals for women: the severity of the substance use disorder; co-occurring mental health conditions; motivation of women to seek treatment and biases from emergency room doctors.

The data from the DAWN database showed that… (continue reading)