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  » Men's health  »  Alcohol & Drug Abuse

Alcohol and drug abuse in men oftentimes begins early in their lives. School years, especially high school and college years, are especially difficult for many boys, as they are facing concerns about body image, sexuality, and athletic performance. And at this critical time in their lives, they are more likely than women to have more opportunities to use alcohol and drugs.

Consider how men and women react differently to drugs:

  • While both men and women are equally likely to become addicted to cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, tobacco, and inhalants, men are more likely to abuse alcohol and marijuana.
  • Men become dependent on drugs more slowly than women.
  • The effects of cocaine on the brain and on the risk for stroke have been found to be more severe in men than in women.
  • Men in drug treatment programs are more likely to have graduated from high school and to be employed, and have fewer other health problems than women.
  • More men than women are alcohol dependent or have alcohol problems. And alcohol problems are highest among young adults ages 18-29 and lowest among adults ages 65 and older.
Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse

We also know that people who start drinking at an early age—for example, at age 14 or younger--greatly increase the chance that they will develop alcohol problems at some point in their lives. Young men (and women) who abuse alcohol often take risks that endanger their health and the health of others, especially with having unsafe sex. Having unsafe sex can lead to teen pregnancy or to unwanted pregnancy, or to getting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as HIV/AIDS. If you have a problem with alcohol, know that you are at risk for these diseases, which can cause serious, even life-threatening health problems.