The Addiction Policy Forum’s event on “Women and Addiction” brought together experts, advocates, and lawmakers for a conversation on the unique challenges and concerns facing women struggling with substance abuse. Featured speakers included Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Rob Portman (R-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Michael Boticelli.
Addiction Policy Forum Event Highlights Need For Stronger Substance Abuse Treatment for Women
On July 22, 2014, the Addiction Policy Forum hosted the second event in its Congressional Addiction Forum series, a panel discussion focusing on substance abuse issues confronting women. In addition to a diverse set of experts, the event featured keynote remarks from Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Rob Portman (R-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Michael Boticelli.
Speakers highlighted the unique risks and challenges facing women. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the rate of fatal overdoses among women in America quadrupled between 1999 and 2010. Moreover, access to treatment can be a major issue. As ONDCP Director Boticelli noted, women receive treatment for substance abuse at a lower rate than men.
According to panelists, at the center of the challenge is the need to tailor policies that acknowledge the needs and concerns facing mothers. For instance, fear that pursuing treatment options will place mothers at risk of losing their children can discourage some from using available services. Speakers called for better treatment and support programs to help strengthen families.