Increased drug use is becoming more associated with juvenile punishment. New studies show that incorporating rehabilitative and evidence-based methods can make a big difference in rates of recovery for teens.
Arrest and abuse
Back in the late 1980s, Richard Dembo, Ph.D., of the University of South Florida led multiple investigations on the link between detained juveniles, drug use and abusive situations. In the study, “The Relationship Between Physical and Sexual Abuse and Tobacco, Alcohol, and Illicit Drug Use Among Youths in a Juvenile Detention Center,” the group found that both physical and sexual abuse among adolescents was strongly correlated with the likelihood and frequency of using illicit substances. Three years later, interviews with former detainees uncovered similar findings.
Rehabilitation over discipline
Taking what was learned in Dr. Dembo’s research along with the high rates of recidivism and non-deterrence in populations of incarcerated teens, academic observations have turned their eye to how judiciary systems can improve their practices and ensure better results.
In the 2006 publication, “Juvenile drug court: Enhancing outcomes by integrating evidence-based treatments,” Scott W. Henggeler, Ph.D., and his colleagues determined whether the integration of evidence-based practices enhanced the outcomes for 161 juvenile offenders meeting diagnostic criteria for substance abuse or dependence. The research design compared drug court with family court in terms of practices and outcomes. Results showed that the former had a higher rate of reducing adolescent drug and alcohol use in addition to criminal activity. The research team suggested that this may be due to the level of surveillance utilized in drug court.
A study conducted in the same year entitled, “Program use of effective drug abuse treatment practices for juvenile offenders,” lead author Craig E. Henderson, Ph.D., and researchers from Sam Houston State University in Texas, the University of Maryland and the Center for Therapeutic Community Research in New York examined the opinions of substance abuse treatment program directors and community-based treatment agency directors about effective treatment practices.
According to the researchers, “Community programs were more likely to have staff qualified to deliver substance abuse treatment, involve families in treatment, and assess their treatment outcomes. In contrast, institutional programs were more likely to provide comprehensive services. Resources dedicated to training, internal support for new programming, and network connectedness with non-criminal-justice facilities were associated with greater use of effective practices.”
It is encouraging for teens to know that innovations within the country’s judicial process are improving the lives of at-risk youth. For customized and comprehensive care for you or your teen, Sovereign Health Rancho San Diego is a treatment facility that can help adolescents dealing with their respective mental health, substance abuse and dual diagnosis issues attain psychological stability and well-being. Call to speak with a professional and regain control of your life.
Written by Lee Yates, Sovereign Health Group writer