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Women & Drugs

The platform leader: IREFREA was created in 1989 in France to carry out research and promoting policies for the prevention of drug related and other problems among adolescents and women. Today it is a European network with different research partners located in 13 European countries. Among those, IREFREA Italy develops professional partnerships with European experts to carry out research and dissemination activities in the field of youth hardships, drug prevention and drug demand reduction. IREFREA Italy has carried out research, organised seminars, trainings and conferences, published information material and took part in scientific debates on therapeutic approaches to women with drug misuse problems.


Context: International research shows that girls and women use substances for reasons different than men and that girls and young women are more vulnerable to abuse and addiction. Women face unique stigmatization for their drug use and often experience discrimination in their ability to obtain treatment. Until recently drug treatment was largely designed upon men's need. Women's use of and relationship to drugs - and therefore the way in which help, support and care needs to be offered to them - is often affected by their experiences with domestic violence, their responsibilities for family and children, their economic and employment status.The drug and women platform within the DC&D II project wants support policy makers and practitioners in European cities to design drug services which are attractive, respectful and appropriate to the specific needs of women with drug misuse problems.

Objectives: The objective of this platform is to share experiences and learn from available research and good practice at European level on the development of local drug policies which are appropriate in addressing the specific needs of women with drug misuse problems.
Cities taking part in the platform will have the possibility to join an assessment on the appropriateness of their current policies and services for women drugs users, to share views on existing good practices they have experimented at local level, to learn from existing research in the field and to strengthen their knowledge and capacity to address specific women's needs in the development of local policies.

Cities commitment: The platform addresses policy makers within specialised local governments' drugs, health and social services having a particular mandate or interest in gender and women's issues and practitioners from local health and private sector organisations working or interested in developing further work with women drug users.
Cities representatives will be involved in the collection and analysis of data on existing local policies and services for women drug users in their cities, to share good practices they might be aware of in this field and to contribute and benefit from the development of guidelines for integrated assistance of women drug users.

Read the guidelines on Attention to women drug users in Europe (available in English and Italian)