25 Mar Women and Utah’s Meth Epidemic

The methamphetamine addiction epidemic that has been making its way through Utah has not shown signs of slowing down anytime soon. Methamphetamine is the third most commonly abused drug in the state, closely following alcohol and marijuana, but it is the second most abused drug among women. While most drugs have a higher usage ratio among males (usually 3:1), meth is unique because just as many women use the drug as men. In fact, Utah is the third highest in the nation for women arrestees testing positive for meth.

Studies done among meth users have revealed that most people begin using the drug to obtain a high and continue using it because it enhances sexuality and gives users a burst of energy. While only 7% of men reported that they continue to use the drug for weight loss, 36% of women said this is the reason they continue using the drug. Many women begin using the drug to lose weight and/or to keep up with the demands of their hectic lives. After beginning to use, they feel like they can no longer manage these aspects of their life without meth. Many times, women who check into rehabilitation facilities for treatment of eating disorders like anorexia also test positive for methamphetamines because they have been using the drug to lose weight and to keep their energy levels up without eating.

Women also reported using meth to manage symptoms of depression at a higher rate than men. Many women who use meth are suffering from depression or anxiety disorders as a result of trauma due to sexual abuse in their past. More than 70% of women who are suffering from a meth addiction report having a history of physical and sexual abuse. This is a somewhat female specific problem, since 9 out of 10 rape victims are female.

The reasons that women turn to meth more often than any other drug (besides alcohol) are complicated. The root of the problem seems to be that women feel overwhelmed in today’s fast paced world and look to meth as a means to help them manage everything. And once an addiction takes root, it is very difficult to break it, especially for female meth users.

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