As far back as the 1970’s, shortly after the feminist movement was launched, it was estimated that as many as 30 million American women were taking tranquilizers. That was almost half of the female population at the time. In 1975 alone, more than 103 million prescriptions for tranquilizers were written.
By the 1980’s, prescription levels had spiked again. Women throughout Europe and North America were prescribed about twice as many psychotropic drugs as were men. Many of these drugs were taken long-term. In the case of the “minor tranquilizers” (technically, benzodiazepines such as Librium, Valium, Mogadon, and Ativan), continued use was largely the result of drug dependence.
A May 2001 report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) on prescription-drug abuse and addiction stated that studies indicate that “women were more likely than men to be prescribed an abuse-prone prescription drug, particularly anti-anxiety drugs—in some cases 48 percent more likely.”
Overall, men and women have roughly similar rates of nonmedical use of prescription drugs. Young women, however, have demonstrated an increased susceptibility over time to the use of medically unnecessary psychotherapeutic drugs. Be it a sedative, an anti-anxiety drug, or an hypnotic, women are almost twice as likely to become addicted.
Studies from 2001...