Study Finds Drug Treatment Effective for Teens

Techniques, September 2001 | Go to article overview
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Study Finds Drug Treatment Effective for Teens


The results of a large-scale, four-city study on drug abuse treatment outcomes for adolescents were released in July. Based in Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, Chicago and Portland between 1993 and 1995, the study looked at outcomes for nearly 1,200 adolescents, ranging in age from 11 to 18, who were enrolled in one of 23 community-based treatment programs. It found that community-based treatment programs can reduce drug and alcohol use, improve school performance and lower involvement with the criminal justice system.

The study was conducted by Dr. Yih-Ing Hser and her colleagues at UCLA as part of the National Institute on Drug Abuse's (NIDA) ongoing Drug Abuse Treatment Outcome Studies for Adolescents (DATOS-A). NIDA is a component of the National Institutes of Health.

Outcomes were evaluated for 799 boys and 368 girls enrolled in a variety of drug treatment programs, including residential programs, outpatient drug-free programs and short-term inpatient programs.

According to Dr. Hser, the teens made significant progress, even though their length of time in treatment was generally short. The study found that longer stays in treatment resulted in lower drug use and lower rates of arrest following treatment.

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