Women, Children and Families Tools and Resources

Training Tool Box for Addressing the Gender-Specific Service Needs of Women with Substance Use Disorders

The Training Tool Box is a resource to help trainers educate the workforce about the gender-specific needs of women with substance use disorders.

SAMHSA’s Training Tool Box for Addressing the Gender-Specific Service Needs of Women with Substance Use Disorders serves as a launching board that trainers/presenters can use to develop informative, evidence-based trainings on serving women with substance use disorders (SUDs).

This Tool Box enables clinical supervisors, program directors, and advocates to customize workforce learning for providers, clinicians, and peers in diverse settings across the addiction continuum. It equips users with PowerPoint slides, talking points, activities, case studies, resources, and references to train staff and others on gender-responsive, trauma-informed approaches to SUD services and make a compelling case for effective interventions for women. The content is divided into the six sections listed below, along with a supplemental slide deck about women veterans.

Training Tool Box

Using the Training Tool Box


Module 1: Women, Substance Use, and Substance Use Disorders (SUDs)

This module gives an overview of sex and gender differences that affect women’s experience with substance use, SUD services, and recovery; identifies common reasons women initiate substance use, along with risk factors and protective factors for women and girls; and presents common barriers women have to seeking and accessing treatment.

Module 2: Gender Responsive Services for Women: Principles and Core Components

This module defines what it means for services to be gender responsive for women, describes the core elements of gender-responsive services for women, and explains the importance of addressing women’s specific needs during SUD treatment and recovery.

Module 3: Women's Treatment and Recovery Considerations

This module identifies issues to consider when working with women with SUDs, explains how to apply gender-responsive care in the delivery of traditional SUD treatment and recovery services, and describes how to overlay gender-responsive principles onto SUD treatment/recovery processes to make them responsive to women’s issues.

Module 4: Co-occurring Disorders Impacting Women (Mental Health/Primary Health)

This module gives an overview of the most common co-occurring mental and physical disorders in women with SUDs, explains the potential impact of co-occurring disorders on treatment/recovery and quality of life, and describes the importance of integrated treatment and how to best work with a team of providers.

Module 5: Pregnant and Parenting Women

This module explain the risks of substance use in pregnant women and why pregnant women are a priority population; offers tips on offering outreach, engagement, and medication-assisted treatment and recovery to pregnant women; describes the risks of substance use during pregnancy and the effects of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and neonatal abstinence syndrome; discusses services that pregnant or parenting women may need; and gives an overview of the elements of family-centered treatment and the comprehensive model.

Module 6: Moving Forward from Here

This module identifies ways to create a woman-responsive organizational culture, describes some of the attitudes and attributes that promote gender-responsive treatment, offers additional resources, and helps participants actively consider ways they can improve on their work with women and be more gender responsive.

Women Veterans: Supplemental Slides 

This supplemental slide deck focuses on the needs of women veterans who have substance use disorders (SUDs) and co-occurring mental health conditions. Featured topics include characteristics of women veterans and current service members, protective and risk factors related to SUDs, and recommendations for providers who serve women veterans. These slides can be integrated with slides from other decks to more specifically address the needs of women with military experience. 


Last Updated: 11/09/2017