Why do we need a research training program that focuses on gender, women and addictions?

There is growing recognition of the need for researchers to explore sex and gender differences in addictions research. Analyzing the sex and gender differences in the experience of addiction is crucial to our knowledge of the impact of substance use on human health, gender-specific treatment, services, and health policy.

Our experience in women's health shows that women often experience addiction alongside other social and health concerns including mental illness, trauma, violence and HIV/AIDS. Research and policy often overlook these intersections and the resulting co-morbidities leaving substance abuse to be addressed in isolation of broader social and environmental determinants of health. Clinical practice in addictions is often not fully informed by a gendered analysis or by multidisciplinary research that can shed light on the complexities of the problem.

By developing researchers to apply a sex and gendered analysis we hope to influence research outcomes, practice and policy change in the area of women's health and addiction services.

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