Menstuff® has compiled the following information on the Teen
Troubled Teens - The teen drug
Drug Use - Quick Facts
Innovative Ways to Help Teens Struggling with Drugs, Alcohol and Crime
How to Implement a Model to Get Youth off Drugs and Out of Crime
The call to legalize all illicit drugs
Troubled Teens - The teen drug
Statistics for 2002 reflect a slight drop in teenage drug usage to 8.3 percent for overall consumption of all illicit drugs. Still heading the list as most commonly used drug for troubled teens was marijuana (75% of all teen users) followed by cocaine (0.9%) and marijuana combined with one or more other drugs (20%). Cigarettes were found to be a strong precursor for troubled teens to who used illicit drugs, representing about eight times the number to those teens who smoked (48.1%) and those teens who did not (6.2%). Gender differences play a role as well amongst teenagers, with a greater majority of male teens using illegal drugs (12.3%) than their female teenage counterparts (10.9%) (SAMHSA, 2002).
Alcohol, a legal drug restricted to teens only by age, proves both plentiful, available and popular among teens aged twelve through seventeen, with both casual and binge drinking reflecting a higher percentage of usage in college-age teens (GDCADA, 2004).
Research indicates there are a number of social and environmental
factors that are related to the teen drug problem in America, with a
significant number of teenagers engaging in some form of drug and/or
alcohol testing period at some time during their adolescence without
falling into the unending cycle of teen drug abuse and substance
abuse. When teens are brought together under a foundation of negative
influences broken home, developmental problems, emotional
issues, familial problems, etc. the underlying risk factors
inherent to structural functionalism can in many instances act as the
agitator for substance abuse.
Drug Use -
From 1986 to 1996, the incarceration rate for youth ages 10-18 due to drug involvement increased 291%. 2
From 1992 to 2001, juvenile arrests for drug abuse violations increased 121%, while adult arrests for similar crimes grew by 33%. 3
Adolescents who were arrested were three times likelier to have used alcohol in the past month than teens in the general population, five and a half times likelier to have used marijuana and 18 times likelier to have used cocaine. 4
About 60% of teens arrested across multiple U.S. cities were under the influence of marijuana at the time of their arrest; 37% were under the influence of alcohol. 5
Adolescents in one study who received substance abuse treatment showed a 37% decrease in weekly marijuana use and a 14% decrease in alcohol use, one year later. 7
Treatment outcomes of adolescent substance users with criminal justice involvement indicate an overall reduction in drug-related crime one year post-treatment admission. 8
Youth participating in the national Adolescent Treatment Models initiative showed reduction in substance abuse three months following treatment, particularly among youth in residential treatment. 9
The Gap in Services
While 2.3 million teens in the U.S. need drug and alcohol treatment, just 8.6 percent receive any treatment. 10
Despite concerted efforts to get substance abuse treatment to the youth who need it, estimates suggest that fewer than 10% of youth who appear to need treatment ever get it. 11
Just 42 percent of all U.S. juvenile justice residential facilities report they provide on-site substance abuse treatment. 12
The cost of outpatient treatment for cocaine use is about $2,722 per year. The cost of residential treatment is $12,467 per year. The cost of incarceration is $39,600 per year, while the cost of untreated addiction is $43,200 per year. 13
In 1999, the estimated cost of one lost youth (evidenced by a juvenile crime career, adult crime career, drug abuse, costs imposed by high school dropout, and others) was between $1.7 million and $2.3 million. 14
1 United States Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies, Results from the 2001 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse: Volume III, Detailed Tables, Tables H.57, G.2 (Rockville, MD, 2002).
2 V. Schiraldi, P. Beatty, and B. Holman, Poor Prescription: The Costs of Imprisoning Drug Offenders in the United States (Washington, D.C: Justice Policy Institute, 2000), in Drug Strategies Juvenile Justice Project, Literature Review (Sept 2004), p. 2
3 Crime in the United States (2001). Washington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2002.
4 National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, 2000 Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring: Annual Report (Washington, D.C.: April 2003).
5 National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, 2000 Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring: Annual Report (Washington, D.C.: April 2003).
7 Drug Abuse Treatment Outcomes Studies of Adolescents (DATOS-A); Hser, Y.I; Grella, C.E.; Hubbard, R.L; Hsieh, S.C.; Fletcher B.W.; Brown B.S. & Anglin, M.D. 2001. An evaluation of drug treatment for adolescents in four U.S. Cities. Archives of General Psychiatry 58: 689-95.
8 Grella, C.E.; Hser, Y.I; Joshi, V. and Rounds-Bryant, J. 2001. Drug treatment outcomes for adolescents with comorbid mental and substance abuse disorders. Journal of Nervous and Mental Distress 189 (6): 384-92.
9 Dasinger, L, Shane P, Martinovich Z. Assessing the Effectiveness of Community-Based Substance Abuse Treatment for Adolescents. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. 36(1): 85-94, 2004.
10 US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, 2003 National Survey of Drug Use and Health.
11 Dennis, M.L.; Dawud-Noursi, S.; Muck, R.D. & McDermeit, M. 2002. The need for developing and evaluating adolescent treatment models. In: S.J. Stevens & A.A. Morral (Eds.) Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment in the United States: Exemplary Models from a National Evaluation Study. Binghamton, New York: Haworth Press.
12 Juvenile Residential Facility 2000 Census, US Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
13 Substance Abuse, The Nations Number One Health Problem.Schneider Institute for Health Policy, Brandeis University, February 2001, p.75.
14 National Center for Juvenile Justice, an
adaptation of Cohens the Monetary Value of Saving a
High-Risk Youth, Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 14 (1),
reprinted from Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 199 National Report
(Pittsburgh, PA: National Center for Juvenile Justice, 1999), p
How to Implement
a Model to Get Youth off Drugs and Out of Crime
The directors offer specific steps for planning and instigating the changes, provide real-life examples from diverse communities across the nation, and provide a road map for communities to adopt the six-step model all at once or one step at a time.
The report recommends screening each teen for drug and alcohol problems, assessing the severity of his/her drug and alcohol use, providing prompt access to a treatment plan coordinated by a service team; and connecting the teen with employers, mentors, and volunteer service projects.
The report describes how judges, probation officers, treatment specialists, families and community members can take steps right now to improve the future of these youth.
Upon completion of a brief survey, the full 28 page report is
available as a PDF to download at no cost. www.reclaimingfutures.org/?q=judicial_report_survey&reportname=ProjectDirectors
Innovative Ways to Help Teens Struggling with Drugs, Alcohol and Crime
The project directors oversee Reclaiming Futures initiatives funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Together, they have authored the report, "How to Implement a Model to Get Youth off Drugs and Out of Crime," based on six years of creating and testing new ways to help teens that enter the juvenile justice system and previously received little or no care for their drug or alcohol problems. The report describes how judges, probation officers, treatment specialists, families and community members can take steps right now to improve the future of these youth.
"When communities recognize this dire need and begin to work together to save these young people, real change can occur," said Laura Nissen, Ph.D., Reclaiming Futures national program director. "The authors of this report are the feet on the ground pioneering new approaches to help teens in trouble. It is our hope that the lessons they've learned will assist and motivate others to address this pressing need."
The Reclaiming Futures model recommends screening each teen for drug and alcohol problems, assessing the severity of his/her drug and alcohol use, providing prompt access to a treatment plan coordinated by a service team; and connecting the teen with employers, mentors, and volunteer service projects.
A recent independent evaluation by the Urban Institute and the University of Chicago's Chapin Hall Center for Children shows this model is working. The evaluation found that communities that piloted the Reclaiming Futures model reported significant improvements in juvenile justice and drug and alcohol treatment. It also indicated change in the way juvenile justice and substance abuse agencies communicate and cooperate to serve youth and families.
"We have learned that there are concrete steps that can be taken to bring communities together to change they way they help teens in the system with drug and alcohol issues," said Benjamin Chambers, project director for Reclaiming Futures Multnomah Embrace in Portland, Oregon who helped write the report. "For example, it's important to identify a lead organization and champion, develop a common vision and mission, include community partners and youth, communicate, and measure results to help the changes last."
More recommendations from the project directors can be read at www.reclaimingfutures.org where the report is posted in its entirety.
By 2009, the Reclaiming Futures model will be in up to 25 communities thanks to new investments by RWJF, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust.
Reclaiming Futures National Program Office, Portland State
University, 527 SW Hall, Suite 400, Portland, OR 97201 or
503.725.8911 | Fax: (503) 725-8915 or www.reclaimingfutures.org