Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Marijuana #1 reason youth enter substance abuse treatment

While alcohol is the drug of choice among high school students who use, marijuana is, by far, the primary reason kids enter substance abuse treatment.  Below are charts from King County and Washington of publicly-funded youth substance abuse treatment admissions over the past several years.

King County


Youth substance abuse treatment admissions are different from adult admissions -- alcohol is, by far, the primary reason adults enter treatment.

When I show people these charts, they often ask me if these high rates of youth treatment for marijuana are because they were referred to treatment by the courts.  While the juvenile justice system does play a role in these numbers, they are not the primary original referral source -- schools are.

In most school districts, if a student is caught with drugs/alcohol at school, he/she is referred to a community agency for a substance abuse assessment.  The assessment agency then usually recommends either drug/alcohol education or treatment.  Most students are referred to an educational program.  The same process is true for the courts.

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