Background: At any given time, an estimated 2.4% of Canadian youth use alcohol or drugs at a level that qualifies for a substance use disorder diagnosis, with alcohol and cannabis problems being the most common. Given that substance use disorders take a tremendous toll on young people and can become entrenched, effective interventions need to be provided early in life.Methods: We used systematic review methods to identify randomized control trials (RCTs) evaluating interventions designed to treat adolescent substance use disorders. Applying our inclusion criteria to the 104 studies identified from our searches, we accepted eight RCTs.Results: The following seven community-based treatments showed evidence of success: Adolescent Cannabis Check-Up, Case Management, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Community Reinforcement, Ecologically Based Family Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and Multidimensional Family Therapy. Of these, CBT, Multidimensional Family Therapy and Motivational Interviewing had particularly strong evidence of effectiveness, with positive outcomes from multiple RCTs.Conclusions: There are many effective interventions for treating youth substance misuse. By intervening at this early point in the lifespan, it is possible to avert far more serious problems later in life.
Schwartz, C., Barican, J., Yung, D., Gray-Grant, D., & Waddell, C. (2018). Treating substance misuse in young people. Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly, 12(2), 1–16. Vancouver, BC: Children’s Health Policy Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University.https://childhealthpolicy.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/RQ-12-18-Spring.pdf
Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly
Treating substance misuse in young people
Vancouver, BC: Children’s Health Policy Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University
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