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):
The Washington State Adolescent Strategic Plan came together because several hundred youth, families, treatment providers and statewide youth leaders looked at our current treatment system and said, "We can do better."
Over a two-year period, their input was carefully collected, categorized, and prioritized into a set of goals aimed at transforming our service system into one that reflects the current research and known best practices.
It became crystal clear that adolescents needed a comprehensive “system of care” to be successful in recovery. The modified adult treatment model that is currently used rarely takes into account the developmental, contextual and systemic needs of youth.
During this process, I had the great pleasure to meet people dedicated to improving care for youth and families. Many have already taken courageous steps forward to change the system.
We know that over 90% of addictions start before the age of 21, but barely 9% of the funding goes to youth treatment. It's time for leaders and advocates to push for changes in funding, policies and practices to meet the needs of our youth, so they don’t have to live a life devastated by addiction.
Updated: February 08 2018