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Evidence Based Treatment for Youths in Juvenile Drug Courts

NCJ Number
Randolph D. Muck M.Ed.
Date Published
October 2012
57 pages
Intended for use by juvenile drug courts, this report presents data and information on evidence-based practices (EBP) in substance abuse treatment that involves co-occurring disorders and behavioral problems.
Following the presentation of a chart that shows a historical overview of landmark early adolescent treatment work from 1910 through 1996, a chart shows the features of the current renaissance of adolescent treatment research from 1997 through 2005. Data are then presented to show that multiple clinical problems are the norm for persons entering substance abuse treatment. Next, a figure portrays data that show substance-abusing youth are involved in multiple systems that place competing demands on them while having the potential to conflict with one another. Other data show the cost-effectiveness of substance abuse treatment compared to traditional ways of dealing with drug-related problem behavior (for example, detox in jail, hospital-based treatment, and punitive responses to drug-related crimes). Other data show the link between substance abuse treatment and foster care status, the association between shorter substance-use careers and early treatment, emotional problems by type of treatment, and interventions that typically do better than traditional practice in reducing recidivism. Based on the data and information provided, four key recommendations are offered. First, know what treatment services are provided in terms of EBP, appropriateness for identified problems, and fidelity to program design in the implementation process. Second, choose EBPs that can be well implemented given staff experience/training, cost, and staff commitment to the approach. Third, push for appropriate services and demand outcome data relevant to intended outcomes. Fourth, do not ignore the importance of continuing care and ongoing supportive services. Author contact information is provided.