This is the first in a series of posts marking International Women’s Day 2021. We have selected interviews and lectures from the SSA archives that focus on women’s experiences in addiction, covering themes of advertising, domestic abuse and stigma.  If you haven’t already, it’s also (and always) worth looking at Drug and Alcohol Findings’ resources for International Women’s Day 2021, including their ‘Focus on women’ collection.

In an interview from 2018, Professor Moira Plant talks about the history of women, alcohol and alcohol adverting from the 1930s when adverts began to focus on women to the 1960s when alcohol advertising became more sexualised and reliant on increasingly destructive messages about how women ‘should’ look.


In this interview from April 2020, Dr Sarah Fox talks about the impact of increased drinking and domestic abuse during COVID-19, and emphasises the need for services to be ‘trauma informed’.

Image © Laura Dodsworth

And, as part of the qualitative methods conference series, Dr Polly Radcliffe delivers a lecture (recorded during lockdown) on her research that explored how pregnant women with substance use problems navigated the stigmatising drug user identity.


Our collaborators at Drug and Alcohol Findings have a superb collection of analyses covering research on women in addiction. The below is a small selection, with more available here.

Inside North America’s first women-only safer injecting facility

A women-only drug consumption room in British Columbia (Canada) was found to give service users a temporary reprieve from stigma, discrimination, gender-based violence, and drug-related harms. Although other drug consumption rooms in the area were open to people of any gender, women did not experience them to be ‘gender neutral’.


Novel intervention designed to address drug use and PTSD in female street-based sex workers

The Drug Use in Street Sex worKers (DUSSK) feasibility study found that addressing trauma and substance use problems in tandem was an acceptable approach for reducing the drug use of street-based sex workers, but would not be an easy intervention to implement more widely. The severity of trauma disclosed by participants proved very challenging for service providers, suggesting that the integrated service could not yet meet women where they’re at.


‘We have to put out the fire before we rebuild the house’

How can trauma-informed care move from being a value or philosophy held by select practitioners to an organisational framework for delivering treatment and support? Practitioners in England discuss, drawing on their experiences of working with women who frequently report substance use problems alongside histories of trauma and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.


The opinions expressed in this post reflect the views of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the opinions or official positions of the Society for the Study of Addiction.

The SSA does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of the information in external sources or links, and accepts no responsibility or liability for any consequences arising from the use of such information.

Share this story