Drugs and gender

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article investigates how 44 self-defined drug users in the Stockholm area talk about differences in male and female drug use. The analysis shows that there is a general uneasiness among the informants regarding gendered drug taking. Ambivalence thus arises when the informants are called upon to articulate issues regarding gender and drugs. On the other hand, it is evident that gender is a meaningful construct for the informants' understanding of drug use. The informants assign different characteristics to men and women and they articulate a gendered norm system in relation to drug taking. The relevant norms, demanding more control of female than male drug users, were invoked by both the men and the women interviewed.

Although gender was a useful construct for making sense of drug use, the informants lacked resources for articulating their experiences and points of view in relation to issues of drugs and gender. As such gender and its relationship to drug use constituted ambivalent and contradictory themes to talk about. In this regard, this study highlights gender and drug use as an arena in which there is currently no stable definition of the situation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-126
Number of pages20
JournalNordic studies on alcohol and drugs
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


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