e. school, religious activities, sports, family involvement)." ("Juvenile detention," 2005, p. 11-12). These negative affects of increased usage not only directly affect juvenile drug abusers with increased occurrence of detention, but also make less effective rehabilitation programs needed for these young offenders.
Over the last two decades, there have been a plethora of clinical trial research that have identified effective adolescent substance use prevention programs.
Sadly, funding for drug use prevention services has decreased over recent years, partly due to the increased need for drug user treatment for young people. As an example, in 2002, Congress reduced funding for community drug prevention studies at the U.S. Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), by $50 million, in order to increase drug user treatment studies at the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. With reduced funding, it is of even greater importance that prevention programs are as effective as possible. Kumpfer, Alvarado, and Whiteside (2003) note that prevention programs that are family-based are the most effective (p. 1761).
Most of the tested approaches to the prevention of drug abuse for juveniles have focused on the individual child. These approaches focus on drug education, affective education, alternative activities, mentoring, social skills, tutoring, life skills, and other juvenile focused approaches. Although these are effective, they have a very small impact on preventing or reducing drug use.
By working with parents and the family of the child more positive results have been obtained (Kumpfer, Alvarado, & Whiteside, 2003, p. 1762).
Guiding Principles and Treatment Strategies:
Guiding principles have been developed by the OJJDP regarding chronic juvenile offenders and can be applied to treatment programs for juvenile drug abusers. Strengthening the family is one such guiding principle, focusing on the family's responsibility to instill moral values, guide and support their children. As Kumpfer, Alvarado, and Whiteside (2003) found that prevention programs that are family-centric are most effective, it would follow that treatment strategies that involve the entire family would not only fulfill this guiding principle, but be effective as well. It will be the family that will need to provide the constant guidance and support for their child to not only ensure treatment is successful, but also prevent relapse.
Supporting core social institutions are also a guiding principle developed by the OJJDP. These institutions include: school, religious and community organizations. Involving these institutions in the treatment strategy will provide a more comprehensive level of treatment, surrounding the child both at home and outside the home with support.
Intervening immediately when delinquent behavior occurs is another important guiding principle that can be applied to treatment strategies for juvenile drug abusers. With the support of the family and social institutions, this can be more effectively accomplished, making certain that if the youth should falter during his treatment that immediate action is taken to get them back on the right track.
With these guiding principles in mind, a comprehensive treatment strategy will involve several key facets. First, it will be family-centric in order to increase efficacy. Along with the support and education of the family, social institutions critical to the child's development must also be involved, including school and affiliated religious organizations. Once treatment is started, immediate intervention is needed should the juvenile relapse. These components of a treatment strategy will not only ensure that the youth is treated as effectively as possible, but also help prevent relapse.
In the end, juvenile drug abuse is a continuing problem in the United States, that is still on the rise despite efforts to the contrary. Risk factors for drug use typically center on family and peer-related influences. Poor parenting and role modeling as well as negative peer influences are the most common causes of juvenile drug abuse. This has led to an increased prevalence of juveniles in the juvenile court system, this coupled with an increased occurrence of the use of detention as a punishment has led to reduced efficiency in treatment programs within the system itself. Prevention programs too have suffered from decreased funding that has been funneled over to treatment programs for youths. As such, more effective prevention programs, such as those that involve the entire family, should be utilized. Finally, juvenile drug abuse treatment strategies should be in line with the OJJDP's guiding principles of handling chronic offenders. A family-centric, social institution involved treatment program, with immediate intervention should a child falter, will be the most likely to be successful.
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Kumpfer, K., Alvarado, R., & Whiteside, H. (Jul 2003). Family-based interventions for substance use and misuse prevention. Substance Use & Misuse, 38(11-13). Retrieved September 21, 2007, from Academic Search Premier database.
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