Characterizing substance abuse programs that treat adolescents

Department of Research and Policy, Thomson/Medstat, Washington, DC 20008, USA.
Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment (Impact Factor: 3.14). 08/2006; 31(1):59-65. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsat.2006.03.017
Source: PubMed


Few systematic studies have examined the characteristics of substance abuse treatment programs serving adolescents. An expert panel recently identified nine key elements of effective adolescent substance abuse treatment. We measured the percentage of treatment programs in the United States with at least 10 adolescent clients on a given day that reported these elements using data from the 2003 National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services. This first look into the characteristics of facilities serving significant numbers of adolescents indicates that many facilities may be lacking in components considered important. The most significant measured potential areas for improvement occurred in the areas of including mental health as well as medical issues in comprehensive assessments and developing curricula to meet the developmental and cultural needs of clients. On a more encouraging note, many facilities were conducting discharge planning and providing aftercare, although the specifics of these services were not determined.

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    • "Race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and language are also significant considerations in adolescent treatment design and delivery (Nissen, 2006; Mark et al., 2006). While matching race and ethnicity of youth and counselors improves treatment retention and success (Flicker, Waldron, Turner, Brody, & Hops, 2008), low wages, along with poor and complicated funding for substance abuse treatment deters this matching possibility for every program (McCarty & Rieckmann, in press). "
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    • "Henderson et al. (2008) used Rasch modeling to derive a continuous, intervally-scaled measure of EBP adoption weighting the use of specific practices by the frequency that programs were using them, which we incorporate in the current study as our measure of EBP use. The specific EBPs comprising this measure consist of: (1) specific treatment orientations that have been successful (e.g., cognitive-behavioral, therapeutic community, and family-based treatments); (2) effective re-entry services designed to build upon initial treatment gains as well as integrated services provided by the justice and treatment systems; (3) the use of sanctions and incentives to improve program retention; (4) interventions to engage the offender in treatment services and motivate him/her for change; (5) treatment of sufficient duration and intensity to produce change (typically defined as 90 days or longer, Simpson et al., 1999); (6) quality review designed to monitor treatment progress and outcomes; (7) family involvement in treatment; (8) assessment practices, particularly the use of standardized substance abuse screening tools; (9) comprehensive services that address co-occurring medical and psychiatric disorders; and (10) qualified staff delivering treatment (Brannigan et al., 2004; Knudsen and Roman, 2004; Landenberger and Lipsey, 2006; Mark et al., 2006; National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2006; Taxman, 1998). See Henderson et al. (2008) for more information on this measure and the advantages of using IRT to develop it. "
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