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Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Substance Abuse Treatment: Addressing the Specific Needs of Women. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2009. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 51.)

Cover of Substance Abuse Treatment: Addressing the Specific Needs of Women

Substance Abuse Treatment: Addressing the Specific Needs of Women.

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What Is a TIP?

Treatment Improvement Protocols (TIPs) are developed by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), part of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). TIPs are best-practice guidelines for the treatment of substance use disorders. TIPs draw on the experience and knowledge of clinical, research, and administrative experts to evaluate the quality and appropriateness of various forms of treatment. TIPs are distributed to facilities and individuals across the country. Published TIPs can be accessed via the Internet at

While each TIP strives to include an evidence base for the practices it recommends, SAMHSA/CSAT recognizes that the field of substance abuse treatment is continually evolving, and research frequently lags behind the innovations pioneered in the field. A major goal of each TIP is to convey “front-line” information quickly but responsibly. If research supports a particular approach, citations are provided.

The primary goal of this TIP, Substance Abuse Treatment: Addressing the Specific Needs of Women, is to assist substance abuse treatment providers in offering effective, up-to-date treatment to adult women with substance use disorders. This TIP reviews gender-specific research and best practices beginning with the common patterns of initiation of substance use among women and extending to specific treatment issues and strategies across substance abuse treatment services. In the last 15 years, women-specific substance abuse research and gender-responsive treatment strategies have dramatically increased, thus providing this TIP with a wealth of women-specific resources to guide its development. This TIP provides clinical and administrative information to assist counselors, clinical supervisors, program administrators, and others working with female clients with substance use disorders on how they can best respond to the specific treatment needs of women. The TIP will provide researchers and clinicians with a guide to sources of information and topics for further inquiry.

Using a biopsychosocial framework and incorporating gender-responsive principles, this TIP emphasizes the importance of women’s unique developmental milestones, physiological makeup, and the sociocultural influences that can play a significant role in treatment needs and in determining effective treatment planning, counseling strategies, and services. To enhance its practical application for substance abuse treatment providers, this TIP features “Clinical Notes” that highlight relevant issues for counselors, “Clinical Activities” that provide counselors with clinical tools to use with clients, and “Advice to Counselors and Administrators” that present an overview of the main clinical and programmatic issues pertinent to a particular treatment issue for women.


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