A Research-Based Guide to Helping Teens Deal With Drug Abuse

Diverse young people sitting on outdoor steps.

People are most likely to begin abusing drugs—and that includes tobacco, alcohol, and illegal and prescription drugs—as teens and young adults.

By senior year, almost 70 percent of high school students will have tried drinking, half will have taken an illegal drug, nearly 40 percent will have smoked a cigarette, and more than 20 percent will have used a prescription drug for a nonmedical purpose.

Who's most at risk? How are teens different from adults in terms of what drugs they use and what treatments work? How bad is it for young people to "experiment" with drugs?

You'll find answers to these and more questions in the National Institute on Drug Abuse's "Principles of Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Research-Based Guide."

The guide covers the causes of substance abuse among adolescents and recommended approaches for treatment. It also includes resources for service providers.

We like the sections on evidence-based approaches and places to find substance abuse treatment referrals.

The evidence-based section gives a brief overview of several types of approaches, including behavioral approaches, family-based approaches, addiction medications and recovery support services. There's lots of information to help you assist youth in determining the best treatment for them.

The referral resources section includes the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's treatment locator.

Read "Principles of Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Research-Based Guide."

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