How do women’s substance use problems, needs and outcomes differ from those of men? To mark International Women’s Day 2020, a collection of interventions that further our understanding of how sex and gender can influence the course of addiction and treatment, with a particular focus on women starting with the analyses most recently added or updated, totalling today 72 documents.
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From the USA a rare randomised controlled trial of prison-based substance use treatment for women finds substantial benefits from replacing a standard prison therapeutic community programme with one based on extensive trauma-informed and gender-responsive elements delivered in an entirely woman-only environment.
At Philadelphia clinics seeing alcohol- (and often cocaine-) dependent patients, spending on average another nine minutes to offer counselling as well as progress checks during aftercare phone calls made the difference between a programme which did rather than did not consistently improve on usual arrangements, at least while it was operative.
REVIEW 2011 HTM file
The Good Behavior Game and the future of prevention and treatment
From the researchers involved in the trials, a practitioner-friendly account of research on the classroom management technique implemented in the first years of schooling which has led to remarkably strong and persistent impacts on substance use and other problems in later life.
In their first years at school, Baltimore pupils formed teams which could earn prizes and praise for good behaviour; 14 years later many fewer young lives were marred by substance-related problems, threatened by smoking, or on track to cause serious social problems.
In their prevention themes British drug strategies place considerable weight on early years parenting support; whatever else such efforts may achieve, this seminal US study did not find any long-term effects on substance use.
REVIEW 2011 HTM file
Universal school-based prevention programs for alcohol misuse in young people
This authoritative review says that school programmes which work best at preventing youth drinking problems are not specifically about alcohol at all, but instead target problem behaviour more generally.
In Sweden routine parent-school meetings incorporating parenting advice and encouraging commitment to take a strong stand against underage drinking had a remarkable impact on adolescent drunkenness – but would this simple, low-cost tactic work as well in the UK?
In Madrid, unusually a primary care brief alcohol intervention targeted heavy episodic or 'binge' drinking. The result was drinking reductions which probably saved lives due to less drunkenness and less drinking overall – and both screening and intervention were done by the doctors themselves, not specialist staff.
Compared to usual treatment, over the next 27 years introduction of a comprehensively serviced female-only alcohol treatment unit in Sweden substantially extended the lives of its patients – a uniquely convincing demonstration that improving treatment can save lives.
Seeking Safety is a prominent therapy for the common combination of substance dependence and post-traumatic stress disorder, yet in this study of imprisoned women in the USA it did not significantly augment outcomes from the prison's own substance use treatment. Asking 'Why not?' generates interesting explanations.
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