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J Psychoactive Drugs. 1996 Jan-Mar;28(1):31-8.

Options for recovery: promoting success among women mandated to treatment.

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Center for Reproductive Health Policy Research, University of California, San Francisco 94109, USA.


In recent years imprisonment has been used increasingly for a wide range of nonviolent and petty offenses committed by women. Among incarcerated women, particularly those who are pregnant or parenting, substance use and its deleterious consequences are often exacerbated by imprisonment. Women who have been identified as chemically dependent are also at high risk for losing custody of their children. In California, the Options for Recovery (OFR) treatment program provided an alternative to incarceration or relinquishment of custody of children for chemically dependent pregnant and parenting women. This three-year pilot project offered alcohol and other drug abuse treatment and case management to these women, and included special training and recruitment of foster parents for their children. Findings from a three-year, multimethod evaluation study showed that women who were mandated to OFR treatment programs were more likely to successfully complete treatment than women who had enrolled in OFR voluntarily. An economic analysis of the costs associated with women in OFR compared with the combined costs of incarceration and alcohol and other drug abuse treatment produced a ratio in favor of OFR. Additionally, some innovative service alternatives for women mandated to treatment were developed during the project. The impact of such changes have implications for improving women's and family health.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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