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Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse

Updated on July 6, 2017


According to a report by the SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) released in 2003, substance abuse and use continues to plague the community, especially the youth. The report articulates that that, 881,684 young people age 17 to 12 smoke cigarettes, 646,707 adolescent abuse marijuana, and 457,672 of the youth drink alcohol on average. These statistics are alarming considering the young are the generation of the future. In regards to hospital visits, 165 of the youths abusing marijuana visit hospitals daily for treatment, while 187 and 74 youths abusing alcohol and misusing pain killers respectively visit health facilities daily. The report further says that the young people start abusing substances as young as age 12. The reports further point out that the young people who begin drinking at this early age have a high chance of experiencing alcohol dependence at a stage in their lives.

Young persons who constantly abuse substance, experience problems that include physical mental health related problems, poor peer association and difficulties in academics. In regards to education, youths who abuse drugs are likely to drop out school. On the other hand, the youths often get injuries, diseases or physical disabilities as a result of excessive abuse of substance. They are also likely to suffer from depression, withdrawals, apathy among other psychological dysfunctions as a result; they are likely to develop mental health problems. These young people often are stigmatized by the community, and their peers as a result limiting their contribution to the society.


According to American psychiatric Association (2013), only 10% of the adolescents suffering from substance abuse disorder get treatment. Adolescent lack of motivation to enter into treatment could the likely explanation for this. As a result, the drug abuse treatment centers should come up with ways to entice the youth to get treatment in an effort to save the future generation.


An Effective substance abuse prevention program’s main goal is to help parents at home, schools, and the general community plan for, and deliver a research-based drug prevention program at the community level, must be put in place to address this issue. The program should also consider the youths that are at a High risk to be influenced by abuse. (Springer, 2004), describes the characteristics of effective prevention program for high-risk youth. In his program, that emphasizes on strong behavioral life skills programming as opposed to the information- only approaches. He adds to say that interactive learning methods, where youths are involved in meaningful activities that encourage team building and bonding among the youth.


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    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 5 weeks ago from Houston, TX USA

      Interesting, but needs development. Note, the youth most at risk for drug abuse may also be the ones without parental supervision. So how do you motivate unmotivated youth and parents who are not there?