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Addiction and Substance Abuse

The number of women using and abusing substances has been gradually increasing since the 1990s, in some cases matching the rates of men (e.g., alcoholism among young adults) or surpassing them (e.g., higher drug use among women). The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN) publish studies that evaluate substance abuse across nations; however, few provide a breakdown by gender. Worldwide, men consume and abuse more alcohol than women, but the differences vary within each country. In a WHO alcohol study of 14 subregions, the percentages of female drinkers were above 50 percent in Bulgaria, Poland, and Turkey (52 percent); Brazil and Mexico (53 percent); Canada, United States, and Cuba (58 percent); Bolivia and Peru (60 percent); Australia and Japan (77 percent); and ...

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