U.N. reports female drug users avoid treatment for fear of losing children

Cheryl Senter/The New York Times

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) annual World Drug Report released Friday, female drug users are less likely than their male counterparts to undergo treatment due to discrimination against pregnant women and mothers, and the cost of transport, treatment and childcare. According to Reuters, women with drug problems too often find difficulty leaving their homes and families for treatment and are heavily stigmatized. The U.N. said many women fear losing custody of their children, so they don’t seek treatment. UNODC’s executive director Yury Fedotov stated, “While one out of three drug users globally is a woman, only one out of five drug users in treatment is a woman.” According to the UNODC, even though women are three times less likely than men to use amphetamines, cannabis, or cocaine, they are more likely to misuse prescription drugs. The U.N. reported that fewer services are designed for women, especially in poorer countries, and that there is a general lack of information regarding women with drug problems.

Read the full story at Reuters.

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