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Substance abuse treatment programming for women and length of stay among women in treatment

Olivia Silber Ashley, DrPH1, Lev S. Sverdlov, MD, PhD2, Sameena Salvucci, PhD2, Alisa Male, MA2, and Thomas M. Brady, PhD3. (1) Center for Interdisciplinary Substance Abuse Research, RTI International, P.O. Box 12194, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2194, (919) 541-6427, osilber@rti.org, (2) Synectics for Management Decisions, Inc., 1901 North Moore Street, Suite 900, Arlington, VA 22209, (3) Office of Applied Studies, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Parklawn Building, 5600 Fishers Lane, Suite 16-105, Rockville, MD 20857

Research has often shown that retention in substance abuse treatment is lower among women than men, and that women are more likely to leave treatment prematurely than men. Substance abuse treatment specifically designed for women has been proposed as one way to meet women’s distinctive needs and reduce barriers to their receiving and remaining in treatment. Components of substance abuse treatment programming include women-only treatment, child care services, and prenatal care services. This study examines the availability of substance abuse treatment programming for women and treatment facility-related correlates of length of stay in treatment, using nationally representative samples of substance abuse treatment facilities (n=2,395) and adult female clients discharged from those facilities (n=1,239). Data from the Alcohol and Drug Services Study (ADSS) were analyzed for this study. Results of descriptive analyses showed that only 6 percent of facilities served women only, 13 percent offered child care services, and 12 percent offered prenatal care services, 37 percent offered special programs for women, and 19 percent offered special programs for pregnant women. Results of survival analysis indicated that treatment at facilities offering child care services (HR=0.51; 95% CI=0.36, 0.73; p=0.0003) and treatment at women-only facilities (HR=0.34; 95% CI=0.13, 0.89; p=0.03) were associated with longer LOS, after controlling for a number of individual and organizational characteristics. Future research should seek to replicate these findings and to further elucidate how treatment systems may be enhanced to promote retention among substance abusing women.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Substance Abuse Treatment, Women

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 Entry and Retention

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