Women's Past-Year Prostitution Status and Receipt of Substance Abuse Treatment Services

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The study compared services received in substance abuse treatment programs by women who reported involvement in prostitution and by those who did not.


Women (N=1,604) in a national study of substance abuse programs completed a structured interview assessing substance abuse, demographic characteristics, and past-year prostitution at program entry. At discharge, information was gathered on treatment modality (residential including inpatient, or outpatient), duration, and amounts of medical, mental health, and psychosocial services received during treatment. Analyses compared women involved in prostitution and those not involved.


Women involved in prostitution were more likely to enter residential treatment. No differences between involvement groups were found in residential treatment duration, services received in residential treatment, or length of outpatient enrollment. In outpatient programs, women involved in prostitution received more psychosocial services.


Substance abuse treatment programs appear responsive to the greater needs of women involved in prostitution. However, more research is needed on outcomes.

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