Six Steps to Break the Cycle of Drugs, Alcohol and Crime

Nearly 1 in 5 youth (17%) at the door of the juvenile justice system meet criteria for substance abuse disorders; in detention, 39% do. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, only 1 in 16 young people with substance abuse disorders get into treatment
That's unfortunate, because while we need to hold teens accountable for their actions, simply locking them up does not work.
Effective adolescent substance abuse treatment can help teens stay out of trouble, make our communities safer, and save money.
The Reclaiming Futures model unites juvenile courts, probation, adolescent substance abuse treatment, and the community to reclaim youth. Together, they work to improve drug and alcohol treatment and connect teens to positive activities and caring adults.
Please call 503-725-8911 to learn how to bring the six steps of the Reclaiming Futures to your community:

  1. Screening - As soon as possible after being referred to the juvenile justice system, youth should be screened for substance abuse problems using a reputable screening tool.
  2. Initial Assessment - Youth with possible substance abuse problems should be assessed using a reputable tool to measure their use of alcohol and other drug problems, individual and family risks, needs, and strengths. 
  3. Service Coordination - Intervention plans should be designed and coordinated by community teams that are family-driven, span agency boundaries, and draw upon community-based resources.
  4. Initiation- Service initiation is a critical moment in intervention and needs to occur within 14 days of a full assessment.
  5. Engagement - Engagement is defined as three successful service contacts within 30 days of a youth’s full assessment.
  6. Transition - Transition describes completion of the service plan and connection with community resources based on a youth and family's unique strenths and interests.

Photo by Goynang, courtesy of Creative Commons.

Susan Richardson is national executive director for Reclaiming Futures. Formerly, she was a senior program officer in the health care division of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust in North Carolina, where she led a three-year effort involving the state's juvenile justice and treatment leaders to adopt the Reclaiming Futures model by juvenile courts in six North Carolina counties. She received her B.S. in Public Health, Health Policy and Administration, from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Updated: February 08 2018