Tuesday, March 23, 1999

Grant to help
isle women
get off ‘ice’

Free outpatient treatment is
available at St. Francis thanks
to the federal grant

By Lori Tighe


Women who use the drug "ice" can get free treatment at St. Francis Hospital under a $1 million federal grant starting April 1.

"Women are most in need of methamphetamine treatment. The best study done to date on who uses crystal methamphetamine showed an overrepresentation of women using this drug," said Donald Topping, president of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii.

The grant is good news for Hawaii, which can't afford to adequately treat the "ice" problem, which has been linked to child and domestic abuse, said Alice Dickow, director of the Women's Addiction Treatment Center of Hawaii at St. Francis.

"Right now we're unlimited to how many women we can take," Dickow said.

Honolulu is among the top eight U.S. cities with the fastest growth of crystal methamphetamine use, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The $1 million grant, funded by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, will last three years. The program will study the success rate of three outpatient treatment programs, spanning eight to 16 weeks. All three programs have been proven clinically effective and include a year of follow-up.

Free treatment will run 1-1/2 to two years, with a year to analyze data gathered during the study. Co-principal investigators with St. Francis include UCLA's drug abuse research center and the MATRIX Center of Los Angeles.

Eligible women must be 18 and older; active ice users; willing to relate their recovery process; and participate in follow-up interviews after finishing the program.

The St. Francis study helps only women because experts believe gender-specific treatment may be more effective, Dickow said.

All patients will remain anonymous. However they are required to "share their data," she said. They must provide counselors with information on how they're doing in treatment regarding their general physical health and emotional well-being.

All three outpatient programs include three group sessions per week at St. Francis in Honolulu, two in the morning and one at night.

Ice treatment:

bullet For women 18 and and over who are using the drug "ice."
bullet Participants are anonymous, but most be willing to share information about how their treatment is going.
bullet For information call 587-6801.

E-mail to City Desk

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