Roundup: Most Teens Who Need Treatment Don't Get it, Rockefeller Drug Laws May be Repealed, and Much More

Unsurprising news for those of us in Reclaiming Futures: a study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that only about 10 percent of adolescents who have substance abuse problems actually enter treatment, partly because the nation lacks sufficient teen-only treatment services. Furthermore, of the adolescent treatment programs that are available, very few receive "high marks for quality." You can find the actual study in the March 2009 issue of the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.
More news:

  • From New York City, an inspiring story of how the Justice Youth Corps is working with young adults 18-25 who've been convicted of a crime to train and connect them with meaningful "green-collar" jobs in their own communities. All is not roses, but the program has lowered recidivism dramatically.
  • Also from New York state: more signs that the state may finally repeal the infamous "Rockefeller drug laws," which mandate prison terms for nonviolent drug offenders. (The state tinkered with the law in 2004, eliminating life sentences for drug crimes.) Always good to see states recognizing that drug use is a public health problem, and that long-term incarceration isn't a useful deterrent to use. 
  • At the federal level, a House bill would increase federal oversight of residential programs for teens, such as boot camps, group homes, wilderness therapy, residential substance abuse treatment, and psychiatric treatment facilities. The goal is to prevent abuse of the teens. 
  • The National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD) recently asked its members a series of questions about the extent to which state substance abuse agencies collaborate with criminal justice agencies. The survey is high-level and incorporates both adult and juvenile services, but it's a quick read and somewhat interesting. For example, of the 44 states represented in the survey, I was astonished to see that most (26) reported no barriers to collaboration. (I'm highly dubious.) Also of interest: "The majority of State Depts. of Correction (64%) and State Depts. of Juvenile Justice/Corrections (77%) do not participate in State AOD agency client level data systems." Which might mean that states have incomplete information about clients receiving treatment directly from justice agencies, and almost definitely means that clients fall between the cracks. 
  • Curious about how the federal budget for 2010 impacts addiction? Join Together's got an excellent preliminary review. You should also check out John Kelly's summary at Youth Today of how juvenile justice funding fares in the new budget. Kelly makes a good point that federal earmarks eat up the discretionary budget of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and will limit the power of the incoming director -- as yet unnamed -- to impact policy in a positive direction.
  • Want to beef up your "recovery-oriented system of care"? The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is offering grants up to $400,000. Deadline April 28th.


Updated: February 08 2018