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Providing lesbian-sensitive recovery services: Knowledge application strategies for substance abuse treatment

Ednita M. Wright, PhD, MSW, CSW, Cornell University, 166 Parkside Avenue, Syracuse, NY 13207, TBD, ewright1@usadatanet.net

Studies suggest that lesbians have lower rates of abstention from alcohol use, higher rates of reported alcohol-related problems, less decrease of alcohol use with aging, and higher rates of tobacco and illicit drug use (Bradford, Ryan, & Rothblum, 1994; McKirnan & Peterson, 1989; Roberts & Sorensen, 1999; Skinner, 1994). Working with lesbians in substance abuse treatment settings requires a commitment to ensuring that interactions with clinicians and helping organizations are lesbian affirming (Underhill, 1993). Despite gains by the women's and gay rights movements, individual and systemic homophobia (fear of same sex sexuality) and heterosexism (presumption of heterosexuality and belief that heterosexual relationships are superior to homosexual relationships) pervade the larger culture and create barriers to effective treatment for lesbians with addictions (Underhill & Ostermann, 1991).

This workshop will identify strategies that programs can implement to enhance accessibility to lesbians in need of services with a special focus on policies and procedures that may be adopted or adapted by treatment agencies. The presenters will discuss relevant content from, and distribute copies of A Provider's Introduction to substance Abuse Treatment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Individuals released in January of 2001 by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Specific strategies to enhance access and sensitivity or services to lesbians will be discussed in the areas of outreach and promotion, community relations, administration, personnel, program design and implementation, and aftercare.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Lesbian Health, Access and Services

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.

Treatment Success and Aftercare

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA