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Youth Drug Abuse Treatment, a Controlled Outcome Study

Posted on :  January 11th, 2017  |  By :  towardsrecovery

A recent study looked into the potential of a new behavioral method designed to treat illegal drug abuse especially among the youth. It attempted to compare the results from supportive counseling to that of the behavioral techniques. This is significant considering that drug use normally starts at a very early age and the effectiveness of this program can put a stop to the abuse before reaching adulthood. What can be learned from the study?

Evaluation of Method

The new behavioral method introduced for treating drug abuse took into account 26 young people from 13 to 18 years old. Each was randomly assigned to either the supportive counseling or the new behavioral treatment method.

Each assigned group will be subjected to the designated treatment for a period of 6 months. The core of the behavioral program was anchored on the restructuring of family and peer relations. This was part of the treatment to help abate urges of the youth to use addictive drugs. To evaluate the usage, urinalysis was used as measurement and supplemented with self-report and family reporting.

In looking at the outcome, there was a drastic difference. From the group that was receiving supportive counseling, only 9% of the participants remained abstinent while a high 73% of the youth from the behavioral treatment group abstained from drug use.

Confirmation of the reduction in the use of drugs was confirmed from the urinalysis data obtained. The basis was the number of days per month of drug use or the overall number of months that the youth remained abstained. What was notable was that the youth group using behavioral treatment showed signs of improved functioning.

Better work or school attendance, higher youth-parent relationship satisfaction, decreased incidence of depression, less frequency of use and better conduct ratings were observed as a result of the behavioral treatment method.

Lack of Controlled Studies

The controlled outcome study remains significant because although there are a number of treatment methods used for young adolescents having drug use problems, there are very little known well-controlled studies.

This can make establishing the efficacy of the new behavioral treatment method a bit challenging. However, if the observed results would be used as a basis to determine if such method can be effective in addressing the rising drug abuse problem among the youth, then it can be concluded that it is indeed successful.

Keys to Success

What the newly designed behavioral treatment method reveals is that to achieve significant success in address drug abuse among the youth, there are certain factors to take into consideration. These factors make up the core treatment modalities. What are these?

  1. Family-based and multi-systemic interventions;
  2. Behavioral therapy;
  3. Cognitive behavioral therapy;
  4. Pharmacotherapy; and
  5. Twelve step approaches.


It is equally important to ensure that the adolescent-specific standardized assessment instruments come into play. The inclusion of these instruments can help to further improve future treatment methods as well as comparison studies to come up with better methodologies.

With such promising results, there is no doubt that the inclusion of family-based and multi-systemic therapies along with cognitive behavioral therapy can help gain a lot of headway in combatting drug abuse among the youth and young adolescents. This however does not mean that one treatment approach is necessarily more effective than other treatment methods for drug abuse among the youth.

It is important in understanding these keys to success that drug abuse may be expressed in a number of ways. The application of the varied methods only enforce the need to use several approaches to the drug use and abuse problem as every individual can be considered different.

This also highlights the need for treatment centers to explore the different methodologies much like what Towards Recovery Clinics Inc. does in helping its patients to recover, become more productive, and eventually be successful in their personal lives. Pick up the phone and call them today!

Who We Serve ?

  • Individuals using/abusing street narcotics (e.g. heroin).
  • Patients abusing prescription narcotics(i.e., Codeine, Talwin, Percocet/Percodan, Dilaudid, Morphine or Demerol, et cetera).
  • Individuals displaying any of the following behaviours: Compulsive drug use or drug seeking/craving.
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