ADMS Block Grant

Women's Set-Aside Does Not Assure Drug Treatment for Pregnant Women Gao ID: T-HRD-91-37 June 20, 1991

GAO discussed the role of the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Services Block Grant women's set-aside in addressing the treatment needs of drug-abusing women, particularly pregnant women and mothers with young children, focusing on: (1) the barriers facing pregnant women and mothers seeking treatment; (2) whether Congress has sufficient information to oversee states' use of the set-aside to meet women's treatment needs; and (3) whether the states used the set-aside to provide specifically for women's treatment. GAO noted that: (1) the demand for programs designed for pregnant women exceeded the available supply; (2) barriers restricting treatment opportunities included the lack of adequate treatment capacity and appropriate services among treatment centers for pregnant women, resistance to placing drug treatment facilities in various communities, transportation problems, and the women's fear of criminal prosecution if they identified themselves as drug users; (3) the Department of Health and Human Services lacked sufficient information to provide Congress with a clear picture of how the set-aside was used, since it failed to specify to states what information to provide; (4) of the seven states it visited, none had determined the number of pregnant drug abusers in need of treatment, and two states did not use the women's set-aside to fund programs specifically for women; and (5) the women's set-aside does not ensure that states will fund treatment designed for pregnant women and mothers with young children, since it does not require states to fund treatment for those women or define what constitutes such a program.

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