EMCDDA webinar: Women and drugs in Europe — why gender matters

photo of hands rolling a cannabis cigarette. Women and Drugs in Europe: why gender matters

Description: This webinar will explore recent patterns and trends in drug use among women in Europe and the role played by gender in influencing women’s consumption behaviours across settings and the life course.

Speakers will present drug use and drug use patterns and its consequences from different perspectives and population groups, including that of women who use drugs and considering an intersectional approach to drug use.

The role of gender as a social structure will be discussed with experts from the European Institute of Gender Equality (EIGE)*. The focus of the webinar will be the interplay between gender and drugs.

Background: Women make up approximately a third of people who experiment with drugs and a quarter of all people with serious drug problems. They are particularly likely to experience stigma, social marginalisation and economic disadvantage. In recent years, the gender gap has been narrowing among people using alcohol, but trends are less clear in the case of illicit drugs. Gender as a social structure plays an important role in women’s pathways towards drug use and addiction and this has to be considered in research and interventions.

Objective: The webinar will discuss: trends in drug use behaviours among women and differences across population groups and in the life-course, highlighting the role played by gender in women’s behaviours and experiences.

A conversation with:

  • Cristiana Vales Pires, Faculty of Education and Psychology - Catholic University of Portugal and Kosmicare Association
  • Sarah Morton, Director of the Community Partnership Drugs Programme, University College, Ireland
  • Judy Chang, Executive Director of the International Network of People Who Use Drugs (INPUD), The Netherlands
  • Cristina Fabre, European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), Lithuania

Chairperson: Linda Montanari

Opening and closing remarks: Alexis Goosdeel

Format: EMCDDA opening remarks, panelists’ questions, guided discussion, Q&A from attendees.

The following questions will be addressed:

  1. What are the trends in drug use patterns among women across settings and in the life course?
  2. What is the perception of those changes among women who use drugs?
  3. How does gender, as a social structure, play a role in influencing trends and changes in drug use patterns?


Length: 1.5 hours

Participants: The webinar is open to EMCDDA staff members, the Reitox network and external individuals. Participation is possible upon registration, after which the person will receive a link to connect.

Date: 30 March 2022 | 12.00-13.30 Lisbon time (13.00–14.30 CET).

Platform: Zoom

A recording of this webinar is available in our Media library.

*‘Gender’ refers to the social attributes and opportunities associated with being male and female and the relationships between women and men and girls and boys and the relations between women and those between men. These attributes, opportunities and relationships are socially constructed and are learned through socialisation processes (EIGE).