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Model Programs Guide Literature Review: Substance Use Treatment Programs

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2023

This literature review lays out the purpose of substance use treatment programs, the scope of the problem, theoretical background of substance-use treatment programs, risk factors for substance use disorder, protective factors against substance use disorders, substance use treatment utilization, types of substance use treatment programs and their outcomes evidence, limitations of research on treatment programs, conclusions, and a list of references.


This document presents a review of literature on youth substance use treatment programs, aimed to reduce alcohol and illicit drug use, and the misuse of licit drugs, in youths who have been clinically diagnosed with a substance use program; it focuses on substance use disorder among youths under 18 years and on the utilization of substance use treatment programs. The document describes the scope of substance use among youth, the theoretical base of substance-use treatment programs, risk factors that can lead to substance use disorders, protective factors that can guard against substance use disorders, various treatment program types and outcomes, and limitations to treatment programs. Conclusions note that rates of substance use disorder among youth have declined and leveled off since the 2000 to 2010 decade, with 2.8 percent of youths aged 12 to 17 experience alcohol-use disorder and 4.9 percent of 12 to 17-year-olds met criteria for at least one illicit drug use disorder. The document suggests that this research demonstrates a clear need for adolescent-focused treatment programs. The wide range of substance use treatment programs for adolescents includes family-inclusive therapies and residential-based programs. Sources cited date from 2000 through 2022.