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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    New $2.5M grant to help UA women’s center fight drug abuse

    A UA-based research center has received a five-year, $2.5 million grant to create a program aimed at assisting women in drug treatment programs starting in January.

    The grant, from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, will be used to implement a program designed to properly educate women in the community about the challenges individuals face when affected negatively by drugs and alcohol, said Rosi Andrade, a research associate for the Southwest Institute for Research on Women (SIROW).

    SIROW is a regional research center located within the UA Women’s Studies Department.

    The center

    Even if many homeless women may no longer be drug users, they still need assistance and support because of their high-risk behavior.

    has previously offered programs with similar goals, but the grant’s program is unique in its expanded focus, said Sally Stevens, SIROW executive director.

    Unlike previous programs, the curriculum will include outreach to homeless and near-homeless women, who are often at high risk for contracting HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, she said.

    Although the program’s specifics have not yet been determined, the grant will allow SIROW to further expand its outreach to homeless individuals by allowing the institute to use its resources without worrying about technicalities, Andrade said.

    Even if many homeless women may no longer be drug users, they still need assistance and support because of their high-risk behavior, she said.

    While previous programs required participants to be current drug users, the new program is available to current and past users, Stevens said.

    “”Even if homeless women are no longer using, there is still treatment that needs to be done,”” Andrade said.

    Besides education, the grant will provide support to those afflicted by emotional trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder, Stevens said.

    “”HIV-risk behavior goes hand in hand with trauma, so there’s a natural connection there for us to address,”” she said.

    The program will use a therapist to address trauma, as well as offer collaboration between SIROW and the Pima County Health Department, Stevens said.

    “”There are an inordinate number of women experiencing trauma,”” Andrade said. “”This (grant) goes toward addressing that.””

    Trauma is the one commonality of the women covered by the program, Andrade said. The trauma support is meant to provide individuals with healthy ways to deal with stress, as opposed to drugs, alcohol and other destructive behavior.

    “”We are letting these women know we are here to help them,”” she said, “”whether that’s with education, legal issues or support.””

    The program’s goals are reflective of SIROW’s philosophy to not only reach out to the community but also understand the community, Stevens said. That understanding starts with unconditional support and research for all women.

    “”We’re just really pleased that we have this opportunity to continue providing service to the community and helping people who need it,”” Andrade said.

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