The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

4091.0: Tuesday, November 12, 2002 - Board 5

Abstract #44092

Changing needs of substance abusing women on Los Angeles' Skid Row

Lisa A. Melchior, PhD1, Ruth I. Slaughter2, G. J. Huba, PhD1, and Vivian B. Brown, PhD2. (1) The Measurement Group, 5811A Uplander Way, Culver City, CA 90230, 310-216-1051,, (2) PROTOTYPES, 5601 West Slauson Avenue, Suite 200, Culver City, CA 90230

Inner-city “Skid Row” communities have long been the place of last resort for persons with complex, unmet needs. Increasingly, community-based programs serving these high-need populations have reported increasing numbers of women and women with children living on Skid Row. In recent years, the number of mental health issues and severity of mental health problems among women living on Skid Row seem to have increased as well. This presentation will examine data reflecting outreach efforts to women at risk in the Skid Row area of Los Angeles. Data from 3,459 women contacted between 1994 and 2001 support a recent shift in the severity of mental health issues seen among women in this community – who have additional co-occurring risk factors such as substance abuse, involvement in sex work, STD’s, as well as other major health problems. One such measure is an elevated score on the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). In the general population, approximately 20% of respondents would be expected to have an elevated score, indicating clinically significant levels of psychological distress. Among women seen by outreach workers in the Skid Row section of Los Angeles between 1994 and 1999, 50.9% of the women met this criterion. Among women in the same catchment area between 1999 and 2001, however, 72.8% of those screened met this criterion (chi-squared(1)=106.328, p < .001). Results will be discussed within the context of serving women with increasingly complex psychosocial needs in an increasingly challenging service landscape.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Women, Substance Abuse Treatment

Related Web page:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Outreach and Treatment Services for Women Poster Session

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA