Many strong reasons exist for helping women who are struggling with substance use disorders to connect with treatment. Consider the following reasons to connect women to treatment:
- Treatment can prevent a substance-exposed pregnancy
The earlier in the pregnancy a woman can be connected to treatment, the less impact her substance use will have on the development of the baby.
- Treatment can improve birth outcomes
Overwhelming evidence shows that women who engaged in substance-use disorder treatment had better birth outcomes, defined by higher birth weight, full-term births, and lower infant mortality.
- Treatment makes a difference.
Figure 1. Outcomes of Participants in Pregnant and Post-partum Women’s and Residential Treatment Programs Nationwide. Adapted from Caliber Associates(2003)
- Treatment can improve the quality of life for women and their families.
In cases of out-of-home placement of children, the mother’s treatment for substance-use disorders is linked to increases in mother-child reunification.
- Treatment can lead to recovery: People do recover from substance-use disorders.
Recovery is “…a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”
- Treatment is cost-effective; researchers have determined that treatment saves $7 for every $1 spent.
- Treatment for substance-use disorders has been shown to have efficacy similar to that of treatment regimens for other chronic illnesses. Rates of returning to pre-treatment status are the same as other chronic illnesses such as type I diabetes, hypertension, and asthma.
 American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2008). At risk drinking and illicit drug use: Ethical issues in obstetric and gynecologic practice. ACOG Committee Opinion No.422. Obstetrics & Gynecology. Retrieved from http://www.acog.org/Resources-And-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Ethics/At-Risk-Drinking-and-Illicit-Drug-Use-Ethical-Issues-in-Obstetric-and-Gynecologic-Practice
 Ashley, O.S. Marsden, M. E., & Brady, T. M. (2003). Effectiveness of substance abuse treatment programming for women: A review. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 29(1), 19-53. http://dx.doi.org/10.1081/ADA-120018838
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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2012). SAMHSA’s working definition of recovery: 10 guiding principles of recovery. Retrieved from https://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/PEP12-RECDEF/PEP12-RECDEF.pdf
 Ettner, S. L., D. Huang, Evans, E., Ash, D. R., Hardy, M., Jourabchi, M., & Hser, Y-I. (2006). Benefit-cost in the California treatment outcome project: Does substance abuse treatment “pay for itself”? Health Services Research, 41(1), 192-213. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-6773.2005.00466.x
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