PIRE Publication - Gender differences in Afghan drug-abuse treatment: an assessment of treatment entry characteristics, dropout, and outcomes

Objective: The current study examines gender differences in drug-abuse treatment (DAT) entry, dropout, and outcomes in seven DAT centers in Afghanistan. This is the first study to examine gender differences in DAT programming in Afghanistan.Design.A prospective cohort design of 504 women and men in seven DAT centers in Afghanistan was used in this study and the analyses examined whether gender differences exist for patients (1) at treatment entry, (2) at treatment dropout, and (3) for treatment outcomes. Results: Gender differences were found at baseline for patient characteristics, drug use, crime, and social and occupational functioning. Results showed a trend that women remained in treatment longer than men. Looking at gender differences in treatment success, results showed greater reductions in drug use and crime, and greater social functioning among women. Conclusion: Results provide preliminary evidence for potential treatment success of women-tailored DAT programming in Afghanistan. Results also indicate that DAT appears to be successful among Afghan men; however, lower positive outcomes for men when compared to women suggest that more efforts should focus on tailoring DAT programming to the specific needs of Afghan men as well. Study limitations are addressed, and important policy implications are discussed.

Abadi, Melissa Harris
Shamblen, Stephen R.
Courser, Matthew
Johnson, Knowlton W.
Thompson, Kirsten
Young, Linda
Browne, Thom