Access to Substance Abuse Treatment for Homeless Women of Reproductive Age

Published in: Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, v. 28, no. 1, Jan.-Mar. 1996, p. 17-30

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 1996

by Suzanne L. Wenzel, Paul Koegel, Lillian Gelberg

Read More

Access further information on this document at www.drdave.org

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

Homeless women in the United States comprise a subpopulation at high risk for substance abuse, with rates of substance use disorder ranging from 16% to 67%. Despite the need for treatment that such high rates imply, relatively few substance-abusing homeless women avail themselves of formal treatment. The fact that they tend not to utilize formal treatment services is especially problematic among homeless women of reproductive age, who are not only themselves at risk of health-related problems but who place their fetuses and children in danger of multiple negative consequences. The imbalance between treatment need and treatment access suggests that homeless, substance-abusing women are facing severe barriers to care. Although identifying barriers to their treatment access is crucial if this imbalance is to be remedied, very little empirical research has been done in this area. This article presents an overview of current knowledge about barriers to substance abuse treatment for women generally and for homeless women specifically, and proposes a comprehensive empirical strategy for redressing the lack of information on homeless women's access to substance abuse treatment.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.