Drug & Alcohol Treatment - Individual and Group

I. Program Description

Male and female youth accepted at MVJRC who have been identified with alcohol and drug issues will be provided with AOD treatment by the results of a Chemical Dependency Assessment administered once in placement.

II. Assessment

A Chemical Dependency Assessment is provided to each youth identified with drug and alcohol issues. This assessment is performed by one of the Mental Health Therapists assigned to the youth. This assessment process consists of the Adolescent Substance Abuse Subtle Screening inventory (SASSI-A2), the TCU (Texas Christian University) Drug Screen II (includes a self-reported drug history), the TCU MOFORM (surveys problem recognition, desire to help, treatment readiness, pressures for treatment, and treatment needs), and collateral information from other sources. The MACI (as described in the Mental Health Treatment section) is also administered to the youth and provides information helpful to the treatment process.

III. Treatment Planning

Treatment plans are developed to be as individual and comprehensive as possible. Typically, if a youth is found to have either a Substance Abuse or Substance Dependency Disorder, then encouraging the youth to establish a drug-free lifestyle would be the first priority. It is also important for the youth to increase their understanding of the dynamics and consequences of drug abuse and dependency. Lastly, the youth develops a Relapse Prevention Plan which provides a personalized roadmap on how to maintain sobriety. The plan identifies sober support systems, high risk situations to avoid, warning signs that need to be addressed, and pro-social plans of action. 

IV. Program Milieu

Because the Daily Character Development Program provided to all youth placed at MVJRC, is based on Cognitive Behavior Therapy, it is recognized that acceptance of personal responsibility and other aspects of character development are central to the treatment of each youth. This perspective particularly reinforces the principles that underlie AOD treatment and work in tandem to develop a healthier outlook to the future. 

V. Treatment

Every youth in the program is generally provided individual mental health therapy once a week and family therapy once a month. The youth found to need drug and alcohol treatment, are also placed in a twice weekly AOD treatment group co-led by one of the Mental Health Therapists. Additionally, when the youth spend time in the community without direct staff supervision, they must submit to drug screening in order to verify that they have not used substances during the time they were away from the program.

The AOD treatment provided by the program follows a Relapse Prevention Approach. Due to the chronic relapsing nature of adolescent drug abuse or drug dependency, it seems prudent to acknowledge that the youth will be faced with difficult situations and needs to plan accordingly in order to avoid relapsing. The philosophy driving treatment  is largely based on the research of Terrence Gorski, a recognized expert in the field of adolescent relapse prevention. The developmental nature of adolescent drug abuse and dependency is recognized within this model. An effort is made to consider the changeable and dynamic quality of adolescence when developing strategies and objectives for working with the youth. This orientation is in contrast to basing treatment on an adult model in which one typically has experienced periods of significant losses in one’s life. This approach to treatment is based on three main points: 1) breaking through the youth’s denial, 2) creating personal insight, and 3) encouraging behavioral changes. It is further recognized that at some point the youth must arrive at their own realization of the negative impact their use of substances may have had in their lives. Cognitive-behavioral strategies are implemented to help restructure the thinking processes of the youth.

Some of the materials used in treatment, particularly workbooks, are those available through the Hazelden Foundation. These materials are specifically designed for work with adolescents who are at risk for, in recovery from, or otherwise affected by chemical dependency. Typically, youth are provided with workbooks that provide direction for quitting whatever particular substances they have been abusing or upon which they have become dependent. Also, some workbooks help to explain twelve-step support group principles. The youth’s responses are then discussed and processed during individual mental health therapy sessions. A Relapse Prevention Plan is developed once this review process has been completed.

AOD treatment group is based on the Pathways to Self-Discovery and Change (A Guide for Responsible Living) curriculum and follows a participant's workbook. This curriculum highlights the link between adolescent drug use and criminal behavior which are often inseparable occurrences. It follows 3 phases of treatment. Phase 1 concerns building trust, learning facts about AOD and criminal behavior, developing self-awareness, understanding triggers, and developing a plan for change. Phase 2 concerns discovering the tools and learning the skills needed to achieve positive change. Phase 3 concerns avoiding both relapse and recidivism (recommission of crimes).

Once youth reach third stage of the four stage daily program, they can start the Transition Release process (as described in the Mental Health Treatment section). By this point, the youth must be able to demonstrate a lowered risk for relapse and can articulate how they will stay drug-free while in the community. The youth's readiness to go on overnight visits is determined in a Progress Review with the Program Manager and the youth's mental health therapist. In addition to the requirements described in the Mental Health Treatment section, the youth also shares the Relapse Prevention Plan he/she developed and explains how the plan will help keep him/her drug-free. The Transition Release process  provides an opportunity for the youth to meet the challenge of spending time with family in the community and to demonstrate the recovery skills needed to be successful once released from the program.

VI. Transition and Aftercare

The process for developing a Transition and Aftercare Plan has previously been described in the Mental Health section. In the wraparound meeting, the youth should also share the Relapse Prevention Plan he/she developed with an explanation of how the plan may help to guide the youth's sobriety. For those youth in AOD treatment, the Transition and Aftercare Plan should also address:

  • Continued AOD treatment on an outpatient basis
  • Random drug screening
In a limited number of cases, twelve-step meeting involvement may also be encouraged whether it be Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Alateen or Al-Anon. Any actual referral should occur after the youth is permanently released with the agreement of the youth and the outpatient therapist. An overall expectation of the Transition and Aftercare Plan is that when taken into account with the Relapse Prevention Plan, the youth has been provided with the tools needed to be successful once permanently released from the program.