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Choices and Consequences: What To Do When a Teenager Uses Alcohol/Drugs

NCJ Number
D Schaefer
Date Published
155 pages
This book provides information on teenage chemical dependence and describes a proven intervention approach.
The information on teenage chemical dependence discusses why teenagers use alcohol/drugs, the addiction process, the feeling disease, how chemical dependence in teenagers differs from chemical dependence in adults, warning signs that a teenager is using drugs, the tasks of adolescence, and the adolescent delusional system. Principles of the proposed intervention approach are to stop trying to control the juvenile drug abuser, to develop a 'significant-other' adult outside the family to establish a relationship of trust with the juvenile, and to provide a network of people willing and able to confront the juvenile about alcohol/drug use. The book details the stages of intervention, which include disengagement, confrontation, and reintegration. Disengagement involves parents and other concerned adults finding a support group for themselves, forming a network of helping people, and developing skills that communicate to the juvenile that there will be no forced intervention in the juvenile's choices and the consequences of those choices. At the same time, however, confrontation involves parents and other concerned persons in setting limits within the home and at school which prevent the juvenile from controlling these environments to the detriment of others in those environments. This means structuring the choices and consequences for the juvenile without attempting to force the choices which are made. The consequences of the various choices, however, must be enforced. Reintegration occurs after the juvenile has stopped using alcohol and drugs and is faced with coping with the problems of adolescent adjustment. This book details how parents, professionals, and the supportive network can implement the three stages of intervention. Recommended readings and films, 12 intervention steps, a resource list, and a sample school checklist.