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

This new guide on treating teen substance abuse for healthcare providers is now available from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

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:

  • Thirteen principles to consider in treating adolescent substance use disorders
  • Frequently asked questions about adolescent drug use
  • Settings in which adolescent drug abuse treatment most often occurs
  • Evidence-based approaches to treating adolescent substance use disorders
  • The role of the family and medical professionals in identifying teen substance use and supporting treatment and recovery.

Download Resource