of risk factors and substance abuse patterns in African Americans, particularly women. To obtain accu-
rate information, the measures used must reflect the target population’s customs and traditions. Stand-
ard guidelines for the diagnosis of substance abuse disorders, such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Man-
ual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), are not universally appropriate for use with all cultures.
A culturally relevant knowledge base addresses factors such as specific cultural behaviors, the ex-
tent to which alcohol and drugs are used to cope with the impact of society’s expectations, and to what
extent alcohol and drugs area reflection of what has been learned by the dominant culture, to name a
few (Brome 2000).
In conclusion, women caught in a cycle of addiction to drugs and alcohol are among the most ne-
glected citizens of the state. With a severely under funded and inadequate treatment systems nation-
wide, the lack of programs suitable for women, particularly women with children, presents an immense
obstacle in the long road to recovery and reassembling one’s life. To further impede a women’s at-
tempts to improve her quality of life and stability for her family, not only does drug use and abuse carry
a strong stigma in society, but access to public benefits, public housing, and access to funding for higher
education can all be jeopardized with a drug conviction or a positive drug test. Without treatment or
auxiliary resources available to all women, black, white, Hispanic, etc., their chances for success, at over-
coming an addiction, supporting themselves and their families, and becoming independent productive
individuals are tragically diminished (Wesley 1997).
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (2002). The Dasis Report: Black Admissions to
Substance Abuse Treatment: 2002. Rockville, Md. Dr....