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Competency 4: Prevention

Community Awareness and Education

Pregnant woman

The literature on women with substance use problems emphasizes the need to raise community awareness about women with substance use problems and treatment options.15,16 Raising awareness about women’s substance use problems can help reduce stigma. Awareness, coupled with information about available treatment services, can increase women’s access to treatment. Suggested strategies include:

  • Develop awareness material that is informative, nonstigmatizing, accessible, and solution-oriented (location of treatment facilities, cost, criteria for admission, etc.)
  • Provide information through the media, such as printed material (posters and pamphlets, articles in magazines and newspapers, the telephone directory), radio and television, and the World Wide Web
  • Post information in a variety of locations where women gather, such as health services, shops and stores, community centers, places of worship, workplaces, and other culturally relevant settings
  • Hold community forums, workshops, or other meetings to provide information and education on the topic
  • Train community volunteers
  • Build on and link to existing services for women

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