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Women in jail receptive to substance abuse treatment.

CHICAGO -- Incarcerated women with substance abuse or dependence disorders are highly receptive to treatment while in jail, according to a poster study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.

"We were a little surprised to find the higher levels of readiness for treatment among the 198 women incarcerated in a full-service jail," said Debra R. Hrouda. However, "this finding does make sense in that these women had been in a controlled environment free of substances an average of over 8 weeks," said Ms. Hrouda, assistant director of research and evaluation at the center for evidence-based practices at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland.

Assessment using the SOCRATES 8 (Stages of Change Readiness and Treatment Eagerness Scale, Version 8) showed that 5% of the jailed women were ambivalent about treatment, 65% recognized the need for treatment, and 30% were taking steps to get treatment.

"We're interested in helping to develop services in the jail setting and to look at people's level of readiness for treatment," explained coauthor Kathleen J. Farkas, Ph.D. "People are always at some level of readiness, so taking that readiness and matching it to a stage-appropriate level of intervention would logically lead to better outcomes. The jail setting gives us this window of opportunity," said Dr. Farkas, who is associate professor of social work in the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western.

Among the women studied, 94% met criteria for a substance dependence diagnosis and 79% had concurrent substance abuse and mental health disorders, primarily depression, generalized anxiety disorder, or posttraumatic stress disorder.

"The diagnostic picture of women in jail is complicated and needs careful attention," Dr. Farkas said. "While these women are in jail pre-sentencing or post sentencing, there's an opportunity--given their level of readiness to change--to introduce stage-appropriate treatment before they're released back into the community or to higher levels of intervention. And you have to deal with both drug and psychiatric problems so that they can develop the coping skills needed to succeed," she concluded.
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Title Annotation:Forensic Psychiatry
Publication:Clinical Psychiatry News
Geographic Code:1U3IL
Date:Jan 1, 2007
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