Blog: Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment

Resources From 2013 Leadership Institute

Thank you to the community leaders and experts in juvenile justice reform, adolescent substance abuse treatment and mental health who contributed to a successful 2013 Leadership Institute in Asheville, N.C., May 7-9, 2013.
I'm pleased to share the presentations, plenary sessions and fellowship discussions that made up this working conference to help communities break the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime.
Please take a moment to browse the topics and share the proven approaches and best practices for communities adopting, implementing and sustaining the Reclaiming Futures model as the standard of care in communities across the nation.
Here is a sample of the topics:

  • Behavior Change Drivers by Michael Clark, Center for Strength-Based Strategies
  • Rest Stop: Self-Care and Leadership Survival by Laura Nissen, Special Advisor, Reclaiming Futures National Program Office, Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Portland State University
  • One Faith Community at a Time by Michael Dublin, Consultant, Faith Works Together Coordinator
  • Global Appraisal of Individual Needs (GAIN): An Introduction & Opportunity to Ask Questions, Michael Dennis and Kate Moritz, Chestnut Health Systems
  • How to Manage Yourself and Others Through the Stress of Change by Kathleen Doyle-White, Founder and President, Pathfinders Coaching

We'd like to hear from you. If you attended the Leadership Institute, what new skills, perspectives or strategies will you use? What insights will reinforce your efforts?
Please share ideas, photos and resources from the 2013 Reclaiming Futures Leadership Institute, using the following hashtag via Twitter: #RFutures13

Montgomery County Juvenile Court Celebrates 15 Drug Court Graduates

In celebration of National Drug Court Month, Montgomery County Juvenile Court held a graduation ceremony celebrating youth who have successfully overcome drug and alcohol abuse.
National Drug Court Month is coordinated on a National level by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP). This year, Drug Courts throughout the nation are celebrating National Drug Court Month with the theme ‘Drug Courts: Where Accountability Meets Compassion.’ This uplifting commencement ceremony is evidence of the tremendous impact the Montgomery County Juvenile Drug Court has had on our community and will send a powerful message that Drug Courts are a proven budget solution that saves lives and dollars.
Like the other 2,700 operational Drug Courts in the United States, the Montgomery County Juvenile Drug Court is a judicially-supervised court docket that reduces correctional costs, protects community safety, and improves public welfare. In Drug Court, seriously drug-addicted individuals remain in treatment while under close supervision. Drug Court participants must meet their obligation to themselves, their families, and society. To ensure accountability, they are regularly and randomly tested for drug use, required to appear frequently in court for the judge to review their progress, rewarded for doing well and sanctioned for not living up to their obligations. Research continues to show that Drug Courts work better than jail or prison, better than probation, and better than treatment alone.
Fifteen young men and women were among this year’s graduates. The ceremony marked their completion of an intensive program of comprehensive drug treatment, case management, mandatory drug testing, community supervision and incentives and sanctions to encourage appropriate behavior.

'Supper Club' Brings Stable Connection; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • For Juvenile Detainees, 'Supper Club' Brings Stable Connection (The Baltimore Sun)
    The one-year-old Supper Club program is designed around a time-tested principle — that sharing regular meals with caring grown-ups provides young people with a sense of stability and connection. It's an experience that teens inside these walls may be only passingly familiar with.
  • [OPINION] Juvenile Justice System Broken, Needs Oversight (
    "No child should ever be subject to mistreatment, and this report will hopefully incentivize our policymakers to ensure that incarceration is truly the last resort, used only for the safety of the child and the public."
  • Forum Focuses on Juvenile Justice (
    For the second straight month, the Time and Space Limited theater in Hudson hosted a meeting on juvenile justice in conjunction with the newly formed Staley B. Keith Social Justice Center. At Wednesday’s event, TSL co-Director Linda Mussman welcomed moderator and sociologist Richard Smith, and a panel of local legal experts to discuss issues facing Hudson youth in the juvenile justice system.
  • OP-ED: Families: Solutions to the Crisis in Juvenile Justice (
    "In 2006, the mother of a teenage daughter involved in the juvenile justice system in Hawaii contacted a small, non-profit in Lake Charles, La., more than 4,000 miles away. The mother was seeking support from someone who could understand her plight in navigating the juvenile justice system and possibly help her find the treatment and services her daughter desperately needed."

Pushing Your Juvenile Justice Program to Excellence

Project Director Margaret Soukup, Reclaiming Futures Seattle-King County, discusses how the Reclaiming Futures model has improved their work with young people in King County. Since implementing Reclaiming Futures 10 years ago, they have become more:

  • Collaborative,
  • Supportive, and
  • Inclusive 

To learn more about helping teens overcome drugs, alcohol and crime, please visit

Past Traumatic Experiences Common Among Detained Juveniles; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Efforts Sought to Rehabilitate Troubled Youth (
    While there have been drastic changes in the juvenile justice system in the wake of the “Kids for Cash” scandal, some advocates believe Pennsylvania has so far failed to widely embrace efforts to fully focus on rehabilitating troubled young people. One of the more innovative efforts in Pennsylvania involves the use of youth courts, in which young people themselves mete out justice for their peers.
  • Bad Food, a Bible, and a Blanket: 24 Hours in Juvenile Solitary Confinement (
    As a photographer, how far would you go to get in the heads of your subjects? For Richard Ross, it meant 24 hours in solitary confinement at a juvenile detention center. Over six years, Ross has photographed hundreds of detention centers and interviewed more than a 1,000 children for a project called Juvenile-in-Justice that aims to educate people about the juvenile justice system. He’s as familiar as any outsider with the subject, but he decided it wasn’t enough.
  • Past Traumatic Experiences Common Among Detained Juveniles (
    Most young people placed in detention have experienced at least one traumatic event in their lifetime, according to a new report from the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). “PTSD, Trauma and Comorbid Psychiatric Disorders in Detained Youth,” released Tuesday, included findings culled from the Northwestern Juvenile Project, which assessed more than 1,800 young detainees in Chicago between 1995 and 1998.
  • Nebraska Gov. Heineman Signs Juvenile Justice Reform Bill, Focusing on Youth Rehabilitation (
    Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman has signed a juvenile justice reform bill into law. The measure by Sen. Brad Ashford, of Omaha, is designed to shift the state's focus toward rehabilitation for youths who break the law. Heineman approved the legislation on Wednesday during a news conference.
  • Gov. Heineman Signs Juvenile Justice Reform into Law (
    The state embarked on a new approach in dealing with troubled juveniles Wednesday. Gov. Dave Heineman signed into law a major reform bill that shifts the focus from incarceration to treatment for youthful offenders and puts state probation officers in charge of that rehabilitation work instead of state social workers.

Reclaiming Futures in Anchorage, Alaska

Tom Begich, coach and former project director in Anchorage Alaska, describes how Reclaiming Futures has transcended anything they ever imagined to create a safer, healthier community. 

  • Crime and substance abuse rates are down
  • Graduation rates are up 
  • Evidence-based practices are driving change

What does “Above the Influence” Look Like in Your Community?

It would be almost impossible to miss the hundreds of “Above the Influence” signs decorating bus stations and lobbies. But why do they matter? They matter because thousands of teens are standing up against the pressures of alcohol, stress, drugs, pop culture, peer pressure and bullying.
Above the Influence is a campaign run by the Office of National Drug Control Policy inspired by real life stories from teens about how they face the influences that shape their decisions. Their mission is to help teens take a stand against negative pressures and influences that impact the way we live. By learning about what influences are around us, we are better equipped to say no to pressures including drugs, pills and alcohol.
What does living above the influence mean to you? Share your experiences and what you’ve observed in your community with us.

Justice Reform Paying Off Sooner than Expected; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • [AUDIO] Juvenile Justice System Overhaul Signed into Law (
    Nebraska will shift how it treats juvenile offenders under a bill signed into law by the governor. Gov. Dave Heineman has signed LB 561e, juvenile justice reform approved by the legislature. Heineman, during a news conference in his Capitol office, called the bill complex. Still, he has hopes for a simple outcome.
  • Dramatic Reform of Juvenile Justice Takes Shape in Legislature (
    Juvenile criminals would be rehabilitated at home, with help from probation officers, under a bill advancing in the state Legislature.
    Lawmakers advanced LB 651, aiming to overhaul Nebraska’s juvenile justice system. The bill would transfer responsibility for the state’s roughly 3,000 juvenile offenders from the Department of Health and Human Services to the Office of Probation Administration.
  • Nebraska Governor Vetoes $200K in Golf Tournament Funding (
    Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman used a line-item veto Tuesday to strike $200,000 from a budget bill that was approved to promote the U.S. Senior Open golf tournament in Omaha. The Republican governor said the budget item was unjustified, given the state's other spending priorities on education and reforms to the state's juvenile justice services.
  • Justice Reform Paying Off Sooner than Expected (
    When Gov. Nathan Deal prompted the Georgia General Assembly to undertake sentencing reform for the adult criminal justice system (to be followed the next year by juvenile justice reform), he acknowledged that he didn't expect to see any substantial changes for a few years. In terms of the state prison population, that's certainly the case so far. In fact, the state inmate count actually rose slightly from the end of 2010 through last year.
  • Massachusetts House Votes to Move 17-Year-Olds into Juvenile Justice System (
    The House unanimously passed legislation Wednesday that would move 17-year-old offenders into the juvenile justice system in Massachusetts, ending the practice of routinely incarcerating 17-year-olds in adult corrections facilities.

More Treatment, Better Treatment and Support Beyond Treatment

Thank you to Sadric Bonner, Great Expectations certified family partner, who talks about how Reclaiming Futures supports her work.
Ms. Bonner has contributed on as a parent in One Parent's Experience with the Juvenile Justice System, and as a social service partner in Youth Mentoring Has Lifelong Benefits -- for the Mentor, Too.

SAMHSA Reports: The Truth About Pregnant Teens’ Substance Abuse

Due to the number of pregnant teens seeking substance abuse treatment admission, SAMHSA established a Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) to illuminate the variances between pregnant teenagers and other female teens admitted. Nearly 57,000 female teens were admitted to substance abuse treatment between 2007 and 2010. 2,200 of the teens admitted were pregnant. The report details both treatment and prevention programs.
Analysts found that more than half of the pregnant teens reported drug or alcohol use in the month before treatment initiation. One fifth of the women indicated daily use, with marijuana and alcohol listed as the most commonly used substances regardless of pregnancy status.
Teenage pregnancy alone poses a much higher peril for health risks than adult pregnancy. When addiction is mixed in, the chances for pregnancy-related complications, premature delivery and delivering babies with developmental problems increases dramatically.

Mark Your Calendars: Faces & Voices of Recovery Awards on June 26

We're excited to announce the Faces & Voices of Recovery event, America Honors Recovery, recognizing the impact that individuals can have on recovery. 

Faces & Voices of Recovery will honor leaders in the addiction recovery movement, highlighting the extraordinary contributions of the country's most influential recovery community leaders and organizations at America Honors Recovery. The event, sponsored with Caron Treatment Centers, honors the exceptional energy, commitment, dedication and creativity of these individuals and organizations in advocating for the rights of people and their families in or seeking recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs.
WHERE: Carnegie Institute for Science, 1530 P Street NW, Washington, DC 20005
WHEN: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Fewer Memphis Juveniles are Being Transferred to Adult Court; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Fewer Memphis Juveniles are Being Transferred to Adult Court (The Commercial Appeal)
    More juveniles charged with crimes are being given a chance to turn their lives around, dodging transfer to adult court where prison is a common outcome, according to court statistics.
  • Treat all 17-Year-Old Offenders as Juveniles, Illinois Senate Decides (Quad-City Times)
    The Illinois Senate Tuesday approved legislation that would send all 17-year-olds charged with a crime in Illinois first to juvenile courts.
  • Natrona County Launches Juvenile Justice Data Collection Pilot Program (Megan Cassidy)
    A program that organizes information on juvenile offenses in Natrona County may grow and help law enforcement efforts across Wyoming. Rep. Keith Gingery said problems the state has addressing juvenile justice issues are compounded because of a lack of uniform data. Few legislators believe law enforcement agencies in Wyoming target minorities when arresting juveniles, for example, but there has been no statewide data to consider.
  • Troubled Teens Art Featured at Austin Auction (
    Those who oversee the program called Project Bridge say it's a way to help the kids realize they can be successful after they leave juvenile detention. “It opens their eyes to future possibilities, of things that might be on their horizon that they've never considered,” said Travis County 98th District Court Judge Rhonda Hurley.

Road Map for Change: A Report on the 2013 Leadership Institute

The 2013 Leadership Institute, a working conference for Reclaiming Futures leadership teams helping communities break the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime, was held in Ashville, N.C., May 7-9, 2013.
Interactive workshops, plenary sessions and fellowship discussions provided opportunities to share and learn proven approaches and best practices for communities adopting, implementing and sustaining the Reclaiming Futures approach as the standard of care in communities across the nation.
Here is a sample of the topics that were addressed:

  • One Family at a Time by Michael Clark, Center for Strength-Based Strategies
  • Rest Stop: Self-Care and Leadership Survival by Laura Nissen, Special Advisor, Reclaiming Futures National Program Office, Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Portland State University
  • One Faith Community at a Time by Michael Dublin, Consultant, Faith Works Together Coordinator
  • Evaluating the Impact of Adding the Reclaiming Futures Approach to Juvenile Treatment Drug Courts by Michael Dennis, Director, GAIN Coordinating Center, Chestnut Health Systems
  • How to Manage Yourself and Others Through the Stress of Change by Kathleen Doyle-White, Founder and President, Pathfinders Coaching

We'd like to hear from you. If you attended the Leadership Institute, What new skills, perspectives or strategies will you use? What insights will reinforce the efforts of your local Reclaiming Futures team?
It’s not too late to share ideas, photos and resources from the 2013 Reclaiming Futures Leadership Institute. Please use the following hashtag via Twitter: #RFutures13

Analysis of Georgia's Juvenile Justice Reform; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Broken Families, Parents Without Skills, Kids in Juvenile Justice 
    Clayton County, Georgia, Juvenile Court Chief Judge Steven Teske said, “We are having a lot of low risk kids who have very high needs because of family dysfunction...(that) don’t belong here. We’re making them worse, resulting in a 65 percent recidivism rate when they get out.”
  • Judge Among Backers of Plan to Raise Age of Juvenile Jurisdiction 
    Massachusetts considerers proposals to give the juvenile court jurisdiction over 18-year-olds. Lawmakers, a judge, and a sheriff testified before the Committee on Children and Families Tuesday in support of legislation to treat 17-year-olds as young offenders.
  • One Case Makes the Case for Community Based Services 
    Opinion: We cannot miss the opportunity to recognize what good policy means to real people -- the police, probation and detention officers, social workers and therapists. Most importantly, we should seize this opportunity to explain how juvenile policy affects a real kid in a real family.

Global Youth Justice Launches 250 Youth Justice Web Sites; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

Life in Recovery: New Survey Results

surveyFindings from the first nationwide survey of persons in recovery from addiction was recently released by Faces & Voices of Recovery. The report documents importance of investments in recovery by:

  • Quantifying the recovery experience over time - Less than three years; three to 10 years; and 10 years and more.
  • Outlining the costs of addiction.
  • Documenting the dramatic improvements in life, from visiting an emergency room to paying taxes.

The survey was developed, conducted, and analyzed in collaboration with Alexandre Laudet, Ph.D., Director of the Center for the Study of Addictions and Recovery at the National Development and Research Institutes, Inc.
Please take a moment to browse the survey results and recommendations. These documents are must-read material for those working in the field of substance abuse treatment. 

Guy: A Young Artist in Recovery Tells His Story

Have you considered lending your talent to young people in your community? If so, the story below, the first of three weekly videos from young people, should provide the nudge you need.
In this three-minute video, Guy, a well-known graffiti artist in Snohomish County, Washington, describes his transformation as a Promising Artists in Recovery (PAIR) participant.

Through Reclaiming Futures Snohomish County, Henri Wilson and other generous adults are mentoring young artists in the county's juvenile justice system who have substance abuse issues. By engaging in calligraphy, painting and photography classes, teens are viewing life through a different lens.

Improving Mental Health Starts with Early Childhood Relationships; News Roundup

Juvenile Justice Reform

  • Juvenile Offenders in the US Deported for Life (Al Jazeera English)
    The Campaign for Youth Justice reports that 250,000 youth under the age of 18 are processed in adult criminal courts in the US each year. Once in adult court, minors are subject to the same punishments as adults, even if they are as young as 10 years old. In the past decade, the US Supreme Court has imposed limits on the types of punishments that can be imposed on juvenile offenders.
  • Texas Lawmakers Consider Bill Restricting Solitary Confinement of Youths (
    Texas lawmakers considered a proposal Tuesday night that would restrict the use of solitary confinement in juvenile detention centers. In a hearing before the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, Sen. Leticia Van de Putte presented a bill to limit the practice to four hours except in cases of six specific types of major rule violations including assault and attempted escape.
  • Department of Juvenile Justice Expanding Civil Citation Process (
    Juveniles in Escambia County, Florida who commit a first time misdemeanor might be given a second chance. The Juvenile Civil Citation Expansion program will help give some a chance to keep a clean record. Juveniles with a first time misdemeanor could be given a citation and community service.

Welcome Reclaiming Futures Duval County, Florida

Last week I had the honor of visiting one of our new Reclaiming Futures sites, Duval County Reclaiming Futures, in Jacksonville, Florida.
Led by the Honorable Judge Henry E. Davis, treatment and court staff closely monitor teens to help them break the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime.
The team is working to keep kids in school, in their homes and out of juvenile justice facilities by implementing the following practices:

  • Enhancing and improving access to substance abuse and mental health treatment services for Reclaiming Futures participants and their families.
  • Implementing a comprehensive system of care incorporating various community-based services for families involved in Reclaiming Futures.
  • Inspiring the Duval County community to become involved with youth and families in need.