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HOMELESSNESS AND VIOLENCE

Women who were homeless in the 30 days prior to entering Cook County Jail reported having more experi- ences with many forms of violence than did women who had housing.

Chart 7: HOMELESS WOMEN AND ADULT EXPERIENCES OF VIOLENCE

Survived a sexual assault

35%

54%

Attacked with weapon by someone other than partner

36%

54%

Key: Homeless in 30 days prior to entering jail

Yes

No

DRUG ABUSE

“Cindy” is an African-American woman in her 40’s. She began drinking at the age of 10, when introduced to it by her uncle. She has recently been having some memories of being sexually abused by the same uncle. She started using harder drugs at age 13. Despite her drug use, she was able to not only graduate from high school, but get a BA in accounting and hold down jobs at Arthur Anderson and Bank One. However, at each job, her addiction caught up with her and she was eventually fired. Without intensive drug treatment, her education will continue to go to waste.

8 UNLOCKING OPTIONS FOR WOMEN

6. ALCOHOL AND DRUGS: USE AND ABUSE

MAJOR FINDING: 36 percent of women said they had an alcohol- and/or drug-related problem for which they were unable to get help.

“I want to continue bettering myself and get sober.”

The majority of women surveyed indicated having used alcohol or drugs at least once. The most common sub- stances were alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and heroine.

  • 88 percent drank alcohol.

  • 77 percent smoked marijuana.

  • 70 percent used cocaine.

  • 53 percent used heroin.

Some women also reported taking hallucinogens, downers, methamphetamines, or inhalants. Although use of drugs does not necessarily indicate an addiction, 46 percent of all women surveyed stated that they had been treated in a substance abuse treatment facility at least once. Furthermore, 36 percent said they were unable to receive professional help for a serious alcohol- or drug- related problem.

SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND DETENTION RATES

Of all women surveyed, those who reported being unable to get help with an alcohol or drug use problem were also detained more times.

Chart 8: SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND REPEAT DETENTIONS

Unable to receive needed treatment for alcohol or drug problem

13%

36%

51%

Received needed treatment for alcohol or drug problem

19%

36%

45%

Key: Number of times in jail

1 time

2-5 times

6+

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