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The objectives of this study were: (1) to systematically explore national-level drug policies’ sensitivity and responsiveness to women, pregnant women, and children; and (2) to examine the adherence of drug policies with international guidelines for gender sensitivity in drug policy.
The common themes that emerged for women, pregnancy, and children were needs assessment, prevention, treatment, training, supply reduction, and collaboration and coordination. Custody of children was a unique theme for pregnant women. Specific psycho-social concerns and social reintegration were special themes for women, whereas legislation, harm reduction, research, and resource allocation were children-specific additional themes. For women-specific content analysis, special issues/concerns in women with drug misuse, need assessment, and prevention were the three most frequent themes; for the children-specific policies, prevention, training, and treatment comprised the three most occurring themes. For pregnant women/pregnancy, prevention, treatment, and child custody were the highest occurring themes. According to ratings of the countries’ policies, there is limited adherence to international guidelines which ensure activities are in sync with the specific needs of women, pregnant women and their children.
A summative content analysis of national drug policy documents, action plans, and strategies was performed. Specific documents focusing on women, pregnancy, and children were analysed. Specific themes and how frequently they appeared in the documents were identified.