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Researchers to Address Effects of the Global Opioid Epidemic on Women and Families, as Well as Marijuana Use Among Teens

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Women and their families and the devastating effects of the global opioid epidemic, along with the increasing use of marijuana by teenagers, are the focus of leading public health researchers and other experts this week at the 11th International Women’s and Children’s Health and Gender Group Conference in San Antonio, Texas, on June 14 at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa. Researchers will meet to address these issues by sharing the current state of global research and strategizing solutions to urgent substance abuse issues affecting women and youth.

“We are pleased to host the conference again for the 11th meeting of the InWomen’s Group and to have diverse speakers and attendees from so many countries to address these critical issues affecting women and their families,” said Wendee Wechsberg, PhD, Conference Chair, and Director of RTI’s Substance Use, Gender, and Applied Research Program. “The group was founded 12 years ago to examine the consequences of substance use through a culturally-relevant and gender lens.”

Substance use by women and youth is often left unaddressed, leaving women and teens who use substances to face stigmatization and a lack of access to services globally. Global opioid use is increasing at an alarming rate, and as strict regulations on recreational marijuana use continue to decline, researchers are seeing an increase in use among teenagers.

The conference attracts attendees from all over the world, this year with representation from more than 10 countries. RTI International, an independent non-profit research institute, is co-sponsoring the conference along with National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the United States Drug Testing Laboratories, the Southwest Institute for Research on Women and other donors.

Highlights of the conference will include:

  • Conference sessions on opioid and marijuana use will focus on the current state of global research on the social and physical problems it causes for women, children and families.
  • Sessions on the opioid epidemic will specifically focus on:
    • opioid addiction and myths among women in the Middle East;
    • sex differences in prescription opioid use in North Central Florida; and
    • gender-specific aspects of the opioid epidemic among women in the United States.
  • The panel session will include a flash presentation round to discuss solutions to the opioid crisis.
  • The second panel session will discuss trends in marijuana and vaping among U.S. youth, trends within the overall context of cannabis use in Europe, and marijuana use among South African teens and female teenagers in Thailand.

“RTI is committed to global gender issues, and has implemented and evaluated more than 600 projects with gender-specific activities in over 75 countries throughout the world in the past decade,” Dr. Wechsberg stated, who is also the Founding Director of the RTI Global Gender Center.

For more information about InWomen’s visit the InWomen’s wiki site or to register, the event registration site. On-site registration for the InWomen’s Conference is available at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa the day of the event.