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Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment of Juvenile Delinquents (From Social Work in Juvenile and Criminal Justice Settings, Third Edition, P 151-169, 2007, Albert R. Roberts and David W. Springer, eds. -- See NCJ-217866)

NCJ Number
Stephen J. Tripodi; David W. Springer
Date Published
19 pages
This chapter describes a promising institutionally based treatment approach (therapeutic communities) and a promising community-based approach (Brief Strategic Family Therapy) that can be used with substance-abusing juvenile delinquents.
A therapeutic community (TC) is generally a residential treatment environment in which the drug user's change in conduct, attitudes, values, and emotions are fostered, monitored, and reinforced daily. TCs view drug abuse as deviant behavior and believe substance abusers require holistic treatment if significant change is to occur. Treatment is administered in phases based on progress behaviorally, emotionally, and developmentally. Forms of positive peer culture are often used to facilitate group treatment. Rules of the TC are enforced by the clients themselves, with older and trusted clients acting as supervisors to the other community members. Staff members, however, generally have more control of enforcing the rules in adolescent TCs. Brief Strategic Family Therapy was developed in response to an increase in Hispanic adolescent drug use in the 1970s, and has since become the primary model for work with Hispanic families whose adolescent children have behavioral problems. Therapists who use this model apply family interventions that are practical and problem-oriented. This model has been successful in reducing marijuana use in a sample of youth, although there were no differences in alcohol consumption among the youth involved. Other drug treatment programs for youth discussed are boot camps, Alcoholics Anonymous, and urine drug testing. Two case studies of substance abuse treatment for an adolescent boy and girl are provided. 3 tables and 80 references