The problem of teen drug abuse is not a new one. As a nation concerned with our youth, we have struggled with teen drug use for many years. The good news is that recent surveys from 2014 and 2015 show a tend towards an overall decrease in the teen use of illicit drugs. The SAMSHA report from 2014, “Behavioral Health Trends in the United States: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health” (http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FRR1-2014/NSDUH-FRR1-2014.pdf) states that among adolescents aged 12 to 17 those who were current (past month) tobacco users declined by roughly half, from 15.2 percent in 2002 to 7.0 percent in 2014. Illegal alcohol use also dropped from 17.6 percent to 11.5 percent over the same period, as did the level of current non-medical users of prescription pain relievers, dropping from 3.2 percent in 2002 to 1.9 percent in 2014 among adolescents aged 12 to 17.
Family Support for Teen Drug Abuse
Family therapy is a key component in the treatment of teen drug abuse. Family based programs that address dysfunctional family dynamics can assist in improving communication, cohesiveness, problem solving skills and other family stressors that may contribute to substance abuse in adolescent family members. Group and individual therapy have also been proven effective, as are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Brief Intervention/Motivational Interviewing, and the Contingency Management Reinforcement approach. 12 Step programs can also provide a positive support and on-going recovery, particularly when youth oriented. In addition to evidence based treatment modalities, comprehensive screening, assessment and services to address any cooccurring medical, mental health, educational, legal and family issues are crucial to adolescent treatment. Therapists and support staff must be trained and well versed in working with teens and their families and knowledgable in age and developmentally appropriate interventions. Aftercare and a continuum of care that provides on-going support and reinforcement of learned recovery and coping skills is also a critical element of a successful outcome.
With continued education, supportive and comprehensive prevention, along with increased availability to age specific and developmentally appropriate, evidenced based treatment the current gains in reducing teen drug abuse can be maintained and increased. For help with a teen who is suffering from drug abuse call Beachway at 877-284-0353 or contact us today.