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Women in Drug Treatment

Letter to the Editor,
by Peter Provet, Ph.D.

The New York Times

To the editor:

RE: “Why is Mom in Rehab?” by Charles M. Blow

The simple answer is trauma, poverty, lack of support and threat of losing her children.

Since crack cocaine burst on to the scene in the mid-80s and devastated inner-city populations, the plight of women – and their children – has been documented by city, state and federal governments, advocacy and research organizations, and criminal justice agencies.

It’s well known that the majority of women in need of treatment are mothers, yet few programs offer services specifically targeting them, with the predictable outcome that women are underrepresented in most programs. But in programs such as ours that offer family services (residential facilities that allow parents to keep their children with them in treatment), the number of women is consistently more than 80 percent.

Yes, the drug-abusing population is aging and with it the needs of older female addicts. But let’s not fool ourselves that among impoverished women with far fewer resources than the actress Tatum O’Neal, the real question is why is Mom not in rehab?

Peter Provet
President, Odyssey House
New York, June 14, 2008

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