Substance Abuse Treatment Programs for Adolescents
Adolescent substance use is a family disease. When you discover that your child is using drugs or alcohol, it is perfectly normal to experience an onslaught of painful emotions. It is also normal to be flooded with questions that don’t have immediate answers. Try to maintain a level head. Laying blame on yourself or your child is not productive and could potentially make matters worse.
What is Substance Abuse Disorder?
Substance Use Disorder is a wide-ranging term used to describe a type of substance-related disorders where the user continues to use a substance despite that substance negatively impacting the user’s overall quality of life.
There are 10 classes of drugs that are classified as substances that can cause substance abuse disorder. They are as follows:
- Hallucinogens (Eg, magic mushrooms, LSD, DMT, Etc.)
- Inhalants (eg. Paint thinner, certain types of industrial glues)
- Opioids (Eg. Prescribed drugs such as fentanyl, morphine, oxycodone)
- Hypnotics, sedatives, anxiolytics (eg. Lorazepam, secobarbital)
- Stimulants (eg. Amphetamines, cocaine, methamphetamines, Ritalin, etc.)
- Other (this would include non-narcotic substances that can still harm the user’s body and the overall state of their health, eg, anabolic steroids.)
It should be noted that the, whether a drug is illicit or prescribed, makes no difference for its being classified as a substance use disorder. In fact, if you will notice from the above list, most substances are actually completely legal, prescribed by a clinically licensed professional.
Adolescent Opioid Epidemic Crisis
As it currently stands, among the 10 classified substances included in the diagnosis of a substance use disorder, there is no other drug that affects adolescents more than that of opioids. Recent studies show that opioid overdoses have more than tripled in the past two decades.
According to Yale School of Medicine’s most recent report on the subject, teens have mostly succumbed to opioids via accidental overdosing, abusing their parent or other relative’s prescribed painkillers, as well as from those they illicitly purchased on the street.
According to the study: In all, almost 9,000 youth have died at the hands of opioids since 1999.
According to another report, as reported by the HealthDay News, older teens are even more at risk when it comes to opioid-related fatalities.
The US. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the number of drug-related fatalities among 15-19-year-old males rose 15% and a staggering 35% among females of the same age.
According to the CDC's Findings, heroin was the most common cause of fatal opioid overdose in the 15-to-19 age group.
The rate of drug overdose deaths was consistently higher for males. In 2015, the death rate was 70 percent higher than the rate for females, the report found.
Substance Abuse Treatment Programs for Adolescents
(The following comes from National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Web Page titled, Evidence-based Approaches to Substance Use Disorders)
Research evidence supports the effectiveness of various substance abuse treatment approaches for adolescents. Examples of specific evidence-based approaches are described below, including behavioral and family-based interventions as well as medications. Each approach is designed to address specific aspects of adolescent drug use and its consequences for the individual, family, and society.
In order for any intervention to be effective, the clinician providing it needs to be trained and well-supervised to ensure that he or she adheres to the instructions and guidance described in treatment manuals. Most of these treatments have been tested over short periods of 12–16 weeks, but for some adolescents, longer treatments may be warranted; such a decision is made on a case-by-case basis.
The provider should use clinical judgment to select the evidence-based approach that seems best suited to the patient and his or her family.
Looking for a Substance Use Treatment Program? Family First is Here To Help!
Family First Adolescent Services is here to provide help and ongoing support. We believe in early intervention. Treating the problem early can drastically improve the chance of a full recovery. Our adolescent program focuses on treating the underlying traumas that often lead to substance use. This is done within the context of the entire family. Additionally, we prioritize education as an integral part of the program. Your child doesn’t fall behind in their studies while taking care of what is most important: their health.
Before seeking treatment for your child, it is important that you know what is going on in their life. How long have they been experimenting? Are they in danger of developing a substance use disorder, or worse, overdosing? Answering these questions is necessary in order to develop a deeper understanding of the situation – and knowing how to proceed.
As a parent, knowing the signs of teen substance use can help you decide whether or not your child is in need of professional intervention.
Family First Disclaimer to Parents:
Without treatment, adolescent substance use can lead to lifelong dependency and poor choices. Early detection is crucial. Enrolling in a treatment program can be the difference between success and failure. In some cases, it can be a matter of life and death. For immediate assistance, please call us at
We believe teens can find long-term and sustainable healing from mental health, behavioral health, substance use or problematic gaming issues." Let us share our story of hope. Call (561) 328-7370