OJJDP’s October Juvenile Justice Bulletin examines underage drinking and offers evidence-based guidelines for screening and treating teen drinkers. OJJDP’s interest in promoting better treatment for underage drinking isn’t new--they’ve long understood the physical, neurological and legal consequences of underage drinking.
The Underage Drinking Bulletin series was created to help educate practitioners and policymakers about these issues and to provide evidence-based guidelines. Highlights from the 10 guidelines from this bulletin are included below:
- Youth should be screened for alcohol problems regularly throughout their supervision. If they are found to be at risk for such problems, a substance abuse specialist should conduct a thorough assessment. Other assessments should identify youths’ risks, needs and assets.
- Justice professionals should develop an individualized case plan for each youth.
- Professionals should match interventions with a youth’s needs and assets. Youth’s progress and participation in programs should be monitored.
- Family and social networks must support youth.
- Youth should receive swift and certain sanctions for noncompliance with supervision conditions but should also receive positive reinforcement for constructive behaviors.
The full Underage Drinking: Practice Guidelines for Community Corrections bulletin is available online and offers a more comprehensive set of guidelines for treating underage drinkers.
David Backes writes the Friday news roundup for Reclaiming Futures and contributes articles about juvenile justice reform and adolescent substance abuse treatment to ReclaimingFutures.org. He has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Santa Clara University. David works as an account executive for Prichard Communications.
Updated: October 10 2012