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How are Indiana’s women faring when it comes to drug and alcohol addiction? 


Regardless of gender or age, alcohol and tobacco are the most frequently used substances in Indiana. Both are legal but age-restricted, although, for the most part, that doesn’t stop youth as young as 12 from gaining access. Perhaps it’s this widespread availability that makes their use so universal and troublesome. 


Looking at the topic through a gendered lens, America’s Health Rankings states that Indiana’s women suffer from higher rates of smoking and frequent incidences of mental distress.


Women and Tobacco in Indiana

Tobacco use, especially the consumption of cigarettes, is associated with a laundry list of ill effects. In addition to uncomfortable and unpleasant short-term consequences, regular tobacco users are also at risk of long-term illness and chronic disease. These conditions include COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and various cancers, as well as heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. 


In fact, the issue of tobacco use extends to expectant mothers also. According to Indiana University’s Center for Health Policy, an astonishing 15 percent of women use tobacco during pregnancy.


Women who smoke are shown to have more difficulty conceiving children. If they do become pregnant, they may not be able to carry their child to full term. Research suggests a relationship between tobacco use and miscarriage, an increase in pregnancy complications, and stillbirth.


As for the infants born to tobacco-using mothers, they are extremely vulnerable and are often born prematurely. Premature babies tend to be underweight and unhealthy, and although they can grow up to be perfectly normal and healthy children, there are other associated risks as well.


Babies of pregnant smokers are at risk of being born with tissue damage in the lungs and brain and are susceptible to second-hand smoke from parental tobacco use even after birth. The CDC states that infants born to mothers that smoke are three times as likely to succumb to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) than those whose mothers don’t smoke.


On the whole, addiction and substance abuse is often predicated on early life risk factors. These include the type of neighborhood an individual grows up in, the availability of drugs in their areas, weak family relationships, substance use within the family unit or immediate social group, and mental health problems. As stated earlier, both alcohol and tobacco use are pervasive problems in Indiana. There is little doubt that their widespread availability plays into this statistic in one way or another.


For those women who experience trauma, distress, or who have untreated mental health conditions, the likelihood of turning to substances like alcohol and tobacco, among other things, is much higher. Because of this, the state of Indiana has identified smoking during pregnancy as its current most pressing substance abuse prevention priority.


If you are a woman in Indiana struggling with mental health and addiction, our Indianapolis rehab center can help. We’re here for you, and we genuinely care!


About the Author


Landmark Recovery Staff

This post was written by a Landmark Recovery staff member. If you have any questions, please contact us at 888-448-0302.

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