Home > Drug poisoning deaths among women: a scoping review.

Lynn, Ena and Doyle, Anne and Keane, Martin and Bennett, Kathleen and Cousins, Gráinne (2020) Drug poisoning deaths among women: a scoping review. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 81, (5), pp. 543-555. https://doi.org/10.15288/jsad.2020.81.543.

OBJECTIVE: Drug poisoning deaths among women remain a challenge for public health policy and have increased at a higher rate relative to men. Although biological, social, and psychological differences between men and women can have an influence on drug poisoning deaths, sex is rarely considered. The objective of this study is to explore the extent, range, and nature of evidence in relation to drug poisoning deaths among women.

METHOD: A scoping review was conducted according to the Arksey and O'Malley framework. A comprehensive search was performed using MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, and Web of Science, supplemented by gray literature, including national and international reports and government documents and consultation with experts. Publications in English from June 1, 1998, to November 2, 2019, were included. Two reviewers independently screened publications for inclusion.

RESULTS: The search identified 5,316 individual publications, and 61 met the inclusion criteria (46% from Europe; n = 28). The main candidate factors identified as contributing factors to drug poisoning deaths among women included age; opioid drugs, especially prescription opioids; other prescription drugs, particularly antidepressants; mental health issues; barriers to treatment; victim of violence; alcohol use; polydrug use; and history of imprisonment.

CONCLUSIONS: The majority of studies on drug poisoning deaths among women involved descriptive epidemiological data, primarily prevalence estimates, with limited in-depth analyses of factors explaining these trends. To inform policies and practices to prevent drug poisoning deaths among women, more evidence is required on risk factors specifically related to women.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, International, Review, Article
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco), Cannabis, CNS depressants / Sedatives, CNS stimulants, Cocaine, Inhalents and solvents, Opioid, New psychoactive substance, Prescription/Over the counter
Intervention Type
Harm reduction
September 2020
Identification #
Page Range
pp. 543-555
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