Chapter

The American Treatment System for Adolescent Substance Abuse: Formidable Challenges, Fundamental Revisions, and Mechanisms for Improvements

Kathleen Meyers and A. Thomas McLellan

Edited by Dwight L. Evans, Edna B. Foa, Raquel E. Gur, Herbert Hendin, Charles P. O'Brien, Martin E.P. Seligman and B. Timothy Walsh

in Treating and Preventing Adolescent Mental Health Disorders

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780195173642
Published online August 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199951024 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/9780195173642.003.0030

Series: Adolescent Mental Health Initiative

 The American Treatment System for Adolescent Substance Abuse: Formidable Challenges, Fundamental Revisions, and Mechanisms for Improvements

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The purpose of this chapter is to discuss an additional complicating factor that impacts adolescent treatment and goes beyond the individual youth and his or her family: the service delivery system. These systems (e.g., educational institutions, health care, juvenile justice, and mental health systems) are complex environments that offer opportunities to identify, treat, and monitor adolescent substance abusers. However, the architecture and operating procedures of these systems often serve to inhibit access to needed services and to confuse or confound coordination of complementary service delivery across systems. The result can be formidable challenges to the identification and subsequent intervention and treatment of the adolescent who uses, abuses, or is dependent upon substances.

In the text that follows, we identify problems within the current “standard” system of care leading to failure to identify these adolescents, inadequate access to even basic substance abuse intervention for those identified, and failure to provide adequate amounts or types of services to those who do access the care system. We also present mechanisms for enhancements and conclude with a summary of three innovative approaches targeted to systems improvement.

Chapter.  10338 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry ; Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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