Recent Trends in Female-to-Male Illegal Drug and Alcohol Use, 1979-1999

Hua (Sara) Zhong, The Pennsylvania State University
Darrell Steffensmeier, The Pennsylvania State University

The view that female alcohol/illegal drug use is rising and increasing faster or catching up with levels of male alcohol/illegal drug use is frequently asserted in both the media-popular press and social science writings. In order to determine whether or not this claim is true, we need careful empirical assessments. The principle goal of this study is to explore between- and within-sex trends in illegal drug and alcohol use by age and ethnicity over the past two decades. The analysis compares the results based on arrest data (eg. Uniform Crime Report) and self-report survey (eg. National Household Survey on Drug Abuse). Other sources of evidence are also examined, such as deaths due to alcohol and illicit drug use from National Vital Statistics Report. One main objective will be to present the factual material (eg. rates, female share of drug use, profile percentages) in a straightforward and easily understandable fashion so that the reader can draw his/her own conclusions about the extent of constancy or change in female alcohol and illegal drug use.

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Updated 05/20/2006