NIDA releases guide on treating teen substance abuse

Published on January 24, 2014 at 3:09 AM · No Comments

Resources to help parents, health care providers, and substance abuse treatment specialists treat teens struggling with drug abuse, as well as identify and interact with those who might be at risk, were released today by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The release came before the start of National Drug Facts Week, an annual observance to educate teens about drug abuse. NIDA is part of the National Institutes of Health.

Adolescents' drug use, as well as their treatment needs, differ from those of adults. Teens abuse different substances, experience different consequences, and are less likely to seek treatment on their own because they may not want or think they need help. Parents can work with health care professionals to find appropriate treatment, but they may be unaware that the teen is using drugs and needs help. According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, only 10 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds needing substance abuse treatments receive any services.

"Because critical brain circuits are still developing during the teen years, this age group is particularly susceptible to drug abuse and addiction," said NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. "These new resources are based on recent research that has greatly advanced our understanding of the unique treatment needs of the adolescent."

A new online publication, Principles of Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Research Based Guide, describes the treatment approaches. Highlights include:

 

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