Women, health and substance use

Project leader

Funding source

Forte - Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2008
End date: 31/12/2011
Funding: 10000000 SEK


In a historical perspective, addiction to alcohol and other psychoactive substances stands out as a phenomenon that mainly concerned men. During recent decades, the situation has changed: Women’s alcohol consumption, smoking, snuff and drug use has increased. However, our knowledge about changes in women’s use of various psychoactive drugs, about the health consequences of these changes, and about the extent and general rationality of society’s responses to these changes is still rather superficial and fragmentary. The overall aim of the program is to fill in these gaps in knowledge, and to give a comprehensive overview of recent and on-going changes in women’s consumption of various psychoactive substances - alcohol, illegal drugs, psychoactive pharmaceuticals and tobacco – and of related health consequences in Sweden. A second aim is to investigate how these changes have been perceived and interpreted by various authorities, by the media and by the public, and to scrutinise various policy and prevention initiatives, based on these “governing images”. A third aim is to investigate changes pertaining to addiction to various psychoactive substances, how women with such problems have been and are handled by the health care and social services systems, and to study the ways recent and on-going societal changes influence women’s options for recovery from such problems. Starting from a traditional epidemiological perspective, the program will strive to transcend the limitations of such a perspective. This is done by examining how factual changes in substance consumption and health consequences are interpreted by and reacted to by various parties, and by examining the rationality and the effects, for various groups of women, of various societal reactions. This ambition necessitates a gender perspective and an application of a multidisciplinary approach utilizing different perspectives, theories and methodologies.

Last updated on 2017-24-03 at 12:53