In my work with juvenile justice agencies and drug treatment professionals, I still hear people call cannabis (or marijuana) a "gateway" drug. This is one of those notions that just won't go away despite the availability of good information that disproves it.
Blog: Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment
Normally at this time of year, we at the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) are busily preparing for the Joint Meeting on Adolescent Treatment Effectiveness (JMATE) – a national conference on teen substance abuse treatment. This would have been our 5th year for the conference, which has steadily grown in size and scope. Unfortunately, we’re not going to be able to hold the meeting this year, for reasons beyond our control. We do expect, however, to be able to have the meeting again in 2010.
For those of you who may not be familiar with JMATE, you can still view the website from last year, where many of the presentations can be downloaded for your use. There are also links to the earlier meetings and their presentations.
According to data culled by the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) from the University of Michigan's ongoing Monitoring the Future study, high school seniors are now about as likely to smoke marijuana as cigarettes: 19.4% reported using marijuana in the last 30 days, vs. the 20.4% lof seniors who reported smoking cigarettes.
Both cigarette use and marijuana use by seniors have been declining since 1997 -- but cigarette use has dropped much more quickly.
This is the first time since the early 1980s that cigarette and marijuana use have paralleled each other so closely. (Click on the image for a closer look at the numbers.)
- Want a quick orientation to Reclaiming Futures?
- Work for a Reclaiming Futures initiative, and wonder how to do an "elevator speech" about it?
Check out Dr. Laura Nissen, National Director of Reclaiming Futures, in this brief, 4-minute interview on Comcast Newsmakers. It aired in a break on Comcast's CNN Headline News in late December.
Judge Bettina Borders has some questions for you.
Judge Borders is first justice of the Bristol County Juvenile Court at the Reclaiming Futures site in Bristol County, MA. Her site is in the process of developing a uniform drug screening tool.* As part of the process, the judge would like to hear from other jurisdictions about the following:
- The Children's Defense Fund has issued its State of America's Children Report for 2008, and it paints a stark picture, indeed. For example, see p. 49 for a graphic representation of how black youth are disproportionately arrested for drug offenses, even though other data indicates they use drugs at the same rate or less than most other teens.
Does your state have a plan for improving treatment for teens with substance abuse problems?
Jim Vollendroff and I had the privilege to attend numerous meetings and contribute to the creation of a Washington State strategic plan on adolescent substance abuse treatment. (Jim is the Chemical Dependency Coordinator for King County, WA, and a Reclaiming Futures Treatment Fellow.) The Reclaiming Futures Model was our concrete framework to assure that the entire group focused on system areas that need to be addressed and/or changed.
Here's an introduction to the plan from David Jefferson, the former CSAT Grant Coordinator housed at the Washington State's Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (DASA):
Physicians and Lawyers for National Drug Policy (PLNDP) has partnered with the National Judicial College to create Alcohol and Other Drug Problems: a Public Health and Public Safety Priority, A Resource Guide for the Justice System on Evidence-Based Approaches. (Order free copies for yourself and your team; download the PDF; or access it on the web.)
[This is the second part of a two-part post. See first post here.]
3. Be prepared for the unexpected. You can't plan for every contingency, but plan for the worst, so you'll be as prepared as you can be.
- What happens if someone you were counting on to testify comes down with pneumonia?
- What if one of your partners adds an extra speaker you didn't plan for?
- What if several legislators on the committee you were scheduled to testify before are unable to attend the hearing, due to family emergencies and other crucial commitments?
(This is the first part of a two-part post. Read the second post here.)
Last week, Laura Nissen of Reclaiming Futures and other experts on drug and alcohol treatment were invited to testify at a hearing by the Oregon State Senate Health and Human Services Committee. Legislators rarely get the chance to learn about adolescent substance abuse in depth, and this was a great opportunity to help them understand the problem -- and possible solutions.
You can do this, too. Here's how organizers made it happen in Oregon:
This Thursday, two youth advocates will talk about the importance of treatment and services for teens.
No big deal -- except they'll be talking to the Oregon Senate Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The youth will testify as part of a scheduled hearing about adolescent substance abuse treatment statewide.
It all started last January, when Reclaiming Futures co-sponsored a state summit on the subject. Our co-sponsors
- Curious about what works in teen drug treatment, or are you looking for a database of evidence-based adolescent substance abuse treatment programs?
- Want to learn more about the research behind a particular treatment model?
- Need a refresher on what's out there, or need a citation for a grant proposal?
Here's a handy list of five public registries of evidence-based treatment programs, including those targeting adolescent substance abuse:
- State of Oregon Addictions and Mental Health Division's List of Approved Practices
- SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs & Practices
- Community Guide from Helping America's Youth
- University of Washington’s EBP Database
- Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Model Programs Guide
I found this list in an excellent guide on adolescent treatment put together by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the State of North Carolina, with funding from SAMHSA and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT). On page six of the guide, you'll find two more online resources on evidence-based practices: your bonus for checking it out!
Go here for help implementing your evidence-based practice; and if you know of other registries that track evidence-based adolescent substance abuse treatment models, please leave a comment!