This is an edited version of a message from the National Council On Substance Abuse in observance of International Women’s Day.
The National Council on Substance Abuse (NCSA), joins in the observation of International Women’s Day, on Sunday March 8, 2020, and we embrace the theme, An Equal World Is An Enabled World.
While we celebrate the achievements of women in Barbados and abroad, we at the NCSA are concerned about the barriers to treatment of substance abuse.
In accordance with the Sustainable Development Goal to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” through “strengthening the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol”, the NCSA will soon launch a study to investigate the factors hindering women’s use of treatment services.
According to the NCSA’s Barbados Drug Information Network (BARDIN) reports for the years 2011 through 2016, males seeking substance abuse treatment continuously outnumber their female counterparts in Barbados.
The most recent report shows that females account for between five per cent and 14 per cent of non-incarcerated, local treatment seekers (percentages vary according to the reporting treatment centre).
We are aware that many women must contend with lack of child care and family support, fear of losing custody of their children and fear of losing their jobs and the ability to take care of themselves financially. This blurs their decision to enter drug treatment.
So how can we celebrate the achievements of women, if those needing help are hindered from receiving it?
We must examine this gender gap and address it as a matter of urgency.
We hope that this study will uncover any form of bias and stereotype which hinder access to treatment by women, so that systems can be put in place to encourage women to live healthy lives and continue in the diverse roles in which they serve today.