It Helps If He Cares
Tags: Baltimore Center for Addiction and Pregnancy (CAP) drug-free drug-using partners male partner pregnancy pregnant women romantic relationships
Studies have shown that the success of a woman’s drug treatment may depend upon the drug-use status of her male partner, and that pregnant women who are involved with drug-using partners can be 5 times more likely to use drugs than women whose partners are drug-free. The authors of a recent study conducted at the Center for Addiction and Pregnancy (CAP) in Baltimore suggest that those women who choose to enter treatment face losing not only the coping mechanism of drug use, but also their romantic relationships. Pregnancy and a drug-using partner can be conflicting motivators for drug treatment.
Researchers used a 24-item Relationship Survey questionnaire to study the demographics, drug-use, psychosocial needs and legal involvement of the male partners of women participants in the CAP treatment program, which includes a brief residential phase, followed by intense out-patient treatment. Of the 207 women participants, 49% of the women reported that their partners used drugs. Results of the women’s surveys revealed that these drug-using partners were more likely to be Caucasian, have less education and have lower rates of employment. They were also more likely to have a long criminal history and greater rates of current incarceration. Most importantly, the women participants in the study reported that their drug-using partners were more likely to give them money to buy drugs, and were significantly less likely to be “extremely supportive” of the woman’s effort at drug treatment. And, as one might expect, the women in the CAP program who reported having drug-using partners had poorer treatment outcomes: they remained in the program for an average of 52 days, while those with drug-free partners remained for 73 days.
These findings suggest that women with drug-using partners have specialized needs that could be addressed to produce more successful treatment outcomes.
(Tuten, M, Jones, HE: A partner’s drug-using status impacts women’s drug treatment outcome. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 70: 327–330, 2003.)Corresponding author: Hendrée E. Jones, Center for Addiction and Pregnancy, D-3 East, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, 4940 Eastern Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21224.