Focus Groups with Women in Treatment

Focus Groups with Women in Treatment at ARS Aberdeen

ARS Aberdeen, in partnership with The University of Maryland Baltimore’s (UMB) inter-professional community, is taking the initiative address adverse impacts of addiction on women. ARS Aberdeen was awarded $50,000 grant funding through the UMB Center for Addiction Research, Education & Service (CARES) which created partnership between the UMB School of Nursing and School of Social Work to learn about experiences and challenges for women taking methadone and how to help them cope with side effects of treatment. Dr. Kristen Rawlett, Nurse Practitioner at ARS Aberdeen and Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland School of Nursing, and Dr. Alexandra Wimberly, an Assistant Professor at the University Of Maryland School of Social Work are the Primary Investigators on the research study about women’s experiences with methadone treatment through implementation of focus groups and an eventual Women’s Support Group at the Addiction Recovery Systems of Aberdeen. The project incorporates graduate students from the UMB School of Nursing and School of Social Work and a local Aberdeen High School student attending the Science and Math Academy. 
Fatal opioid-related overdoses continue to rise in the state while the heroin epidemic in Harford County continues. In 2017, the state of Maryland saw 2,247 opioid- related deaths, with 109 being deaths being residents from Harford County. The city of Aberdeen is identified by the Harford County Sherriff’s Office as a high-concentration area for overdoses with the average victim aged 35 years and six months.
In an effort to increase prevention, education services, and adherence to treatment, the research team at ARS is exploring the challenges and supports to methadone adherence amongst women in order to inform future interventions. Currently in the first phase of the study, the research team has hosted a series of focus groups for women at the clinic to learn more about their personal experiences while taking methadone. After the first year of the study, they hope to disseminate results to participants. The focus groups were well-received and the women who participated seemed to enjoy the opportunity to share experiences in their own words and give direct feedback for future programs and planning at ARS Aberdeen.