The concept of "special populations" (SPs) was created as a contrast to mainstream population, a term generally defined as a group of people who are numerically in the majority or who are a dominant group in power. Historically, the dominant groups in America tend to be males, Caucasians, and heterosexual individuals. The corresponding SPs, therefore, are women; racial/ethnic minorities; and gays, lesbians, and other nonheterosexual individuals. Traditionally, major health studies, including alcohol and other drug (AOD) research, generally focused on the needs of dominant groups. Since the 1970s and 1980s, clinicians and researchers have gradually realized that research results obtained from the dominant groups are not necessarily generalizable to SPs and that model treatment programs designed for the mainstream population do not necessarily work for ...

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