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"New Choices" for women with addictions: perceptions of program participants

DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-4-10

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Abstract:

A qualitative, exploratory design was used to guide data collection and analysis. Four women participated in a focus group interview and seven women agreed to individual interviews over the course of the program evaluation (N = 11). A semi-structured interview guide was used to explore women's experiences in New Choices and their perceptions of the program and its impact. The interview data were analyzed using NVivo software and an inductive approach to data analysis.The emergent themes captured women's motivations for attending New Choices, benefits of participation, and overall quality of the program. Children were the primary motivating factor for program enrollment. Perceived benefits included decreased substance use, improved maternal health, enhanced opportunity for employment, increased access to other resources, enhanced parenting skills, and improved child behaviour and development. Women highly valued the comprehensive and centralized approach to service delivery that provided a range of informal and formal supports.Interview findings endorse the appropriateness and potential efficacy of a collaborative, centralized approach to service provision for women with substance use issues. Although the findings provide insight into an alternative model of service delivery for women with addictions, future research is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention. Research also is needed to determine which program components or constellation of components contribute to desired outcomes, and to learn more about processes that underlie changes in behaviour.Substance use in pregnancy is a major public health problem. Measuring prevalence of substance abuse in pregnant women is problematic because it can involve single or multiple substances, including alcohol, prescription and over-the-counter medications, and illegal drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, heroin, and barbiturates [1-3]. Additionally, self-reported substance use underestimates the extent of the

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