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Teen Narrowly Escapes Death after Smoking Synthetic Marijuana; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Juvenile Justice Should be a Focus for Georgia (
    In her final State of the Judiciary address before the General Assembly today, Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Carol Hunstein is expected to focus on an issue that needs serious thought — juvenile justice.
  • [AUDIO] When Crime Pays: Prison Can Teach Some To Be Better Criminals (
    In popular lore — movies, books and blogs — criminals who go to prison don't come out reformed. They come out worse. Scientists who have attempted to empirically analyze this theory have reached mixed conclusions, with analyses suggesting that activities like drug addiction or gangs are what determines whether the correctional system actually gets criminals to correct their ways.
  • Mapping Juvenile Justice (
    A new mapping project demonstrates overlaps between New York City communities with the highest percentage of youth, the lowest household incomes, rates of foster care placement and adults without high school diplomas.
  • GA Police Chief to Serve on Juvenile Justice Board (
    The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice has announced Elaine Snow, chief of the City of Rome Police Department, has been named vice chair of the agency's board. Snow is filling a board position that was left vacant by Avery Niles after Gov. Nathan Deal named him as Department of Juvenile Justice Commissioner.
  • Gov. Dayton appoints the first Minnesota Somali Woman to Serve on the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee (
    Saciido Shaie has long had a dream that her thoughts and actions would one day become a reason for Minnesota youth to excel in education and life. That’s why she’s spent many years of leadership and advocacy in building a better place for Twin Cities’ young minorities. Minnesota took a note of her passion in activism, and so did Governor Mark Dayton. He appointed her last June as the first Somali woman to serve on the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee for Minneapolis.
  • Suffer the Children (The Economist)
    On March 29th 2012 Georgia’s Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted on a criminal-justice reform bill that read like a left-leaning criminologist’s fantasy. It revised sentencing laws to keep non-violent drug and property offenders out of prison, directing them instead toward alternatives—drug courts, day-reporting centres, mental-health courts—designed to treat and rehabilitate rather than punish. Now Georgia is looking to do something similar for juveniles.

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Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment and Mental Health

  • Study Links Lower Drinking Age With Increased Risk of Binge Drinking (
    The ability to legally buy alcohol before age 21 is associated with an increased risk of binge drinking later in life, a new study suggests. The study included more than 39,000 people who started drinking in the 1970s, when some states allowed people as young as 18 to purchase alcohol.
  • Teen Narrowly Escapes Death after Smoking Synthetic Marijuana (
    Hospital staff removed Emily Bauer's breathing tube and stopped all medication and nourishment at 1:15 p.m. December 16. Her family said the drug that landed the Cypress, Texas, teenager, then 16, in the ICU two weeks earlier wasn't bought from a dealer or offered to her at a party. It was a form of synthetic weed packaged as "potpourri" that she and friends bought at a gas station.
  • [VIDEO] Survey Show Teen Drug use Along the Treasure Coast has Decreased Since 2010 (
    A new survey shows that teen drug use along the Treasure Coast has decreased since 2010. The Florida Youth Substance Abuse survey is given to middle and high schoolers every spring.
  • Teen Marijuana Use: How Concerned Should We Be? (
    "Is there a familiar aroma emanating from your kid's room? Do you shake your head and ignore it thinking, 'Hey, I got high when I was a teen and I turned out OK, right?' Well, think again. While recent studies show some good news regarding the decline in teenage cigarette smoking and alcohol abuse, the bad news is that more are using marijuana and doing so more regularly than ever before."
  • Bipolar Disorder and Drug Abuse in Teens (
    Substance abuse, or drug abuse, is common in people with bipolar disorder. A recent study looked for substance abuse risk factors in kids and teens with bipolar disorder. A recent study found that getting a bipolar diagnosis as a teen raised the risk of substance use compared to getting the diagnosis as a child.
  • Teen Drug Use – Not What it Used To Be (
    The teen scene of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs isn’t the same as a decade ago, and in some ways, that’s a good thing. In a Wright County, Minnesota survey, for example, the number of youth who reported alcohol consumption in the past month dropped from 31 percent in 1998 to 17 percent in 2010.
  • Doctors Often Don’t Ask Teen Patients About Drinking (
    Many doctors don’t ask their teenage patients about their drinking, a new study finds. A survey of 10th graders found that while more than 80 percent had seen a doctor in the past year, only 54 percent of them were asked about drinking, and 40 percent were advised about the dangers of alcohol.
  • Treatment, Not Jail, for the Mentally Ill (The New York Times)
    Mayor Michael Bloomberg has started an important new corrections initiative focused on mentally ill offenders, who make up about a third of the city’s jail population and are more likely than other prisoners to resume criminal behavior once they are freed. The aim is to give the courts up-to-date information about a defendant’s record and mental health status so that a judge can decide whether the defendant should be sent to a treatment program instead of jail.

juvenile-justice-system_David-BackesDavid Backes writes the Friday news roundup for Reclaiming Futures and contributes articles about juvenile justice reform and adolescent substance abuse treatment to He has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Santa Clara University. David works as an account executive for Prichard Communications.