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Principles of Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Research-Based Guide

Evidence-Based Approaches to Treating Adolescent Substance Use Disorders

Research evidence supports the effectiveness of various substance abuse treatment approaches for adolescents. Examples of specific evidence-based approaches are described below, including behavioral and family-based interventions as well as medications. Each approach is designed to address specific aspects of adolescent drug use and its consequences for the individual, family, and society. In order for any intervention to be effective, the clinician providing it needs to be trained and well-supervised to ensure that he or she adheres to the instructions and guidance described in treatment manuals. Most of these treatments have been tested over short periods of 12–16 weeks, but for some adolescents, longer treatments may be warranted; such a decision is made on a case-by-case basis. The provider should use clinical judgment to select the evidence-based approach that seems best suited to the patient and his or her family.*

* The treatments listed in this book are not intended to be a comprehensive list of efficacious evidence-based treatment approaches for adolescents.NIDA continues supporting research developing new approaches to address adolescent drug abuse.

This page was last updated January 2014