| EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE
Thursday, July 12, 2001
4:00 p.m. EST
Study of Teens in Four Cities Finds Drug Treatment Effective
Drug and Alcohol Use Dropped, School Performance Improved
- Drug Use weekly or more frequent marijuana use dropped from 80.4 percent to 43.8 percent; abstinence from use of other illicit drugs increased from 52 percent to 57.8 percent.
- Heavy Drinking dropped from 33.8 percent to 20.3 percent
- Criminal Activities dropped from 75.6 percent to 52.8 percent.
Following treatment, the teens showed better psychological adjustment as indicated by having fewer thoughts of suicide, lower hostility, and higher self-esteem.
More of the teens attended school and reported average or better-than-average grades following treatment.
Some Exceptions Noted
However, there were some exceptions to the general pattern of improvement. Cocaine use increased three percentage points, from 16.5 percent prior to treatment to 19.2 percent after treatment. This was attributable primarily to increases in cocaine use among teens in the short-term inpatient and the outpatient drug-free programs. Among those in the outpatient treatment group, the use of hallucinogens and stimulants did not improve.
The researchers evaluated whether a minimum length of stay for 90 days in residential and outpatient programs and 21 days in short-term inpatient care were related to better outcomes. Almost 60 percent of the residential treatment group, 27 percent of the outpatient group, and 63.7 percent of the inpatient group met or exceeded these goals. The patients who met or exceeded these length of stay criteria had significantly better outcomes than those who did not. They were about one and a half times more likely to be abstinent from marijuana, alcohol, and other drug use in the year after treatment. They were 1.45 times less likely to be arrested and about one and a third times more likely to have average or better grades in school than adolescents who did not reach these treatment stays.
Note to Reporters: The paper can be found on-line at the journal's Web site at archpsyc.ama-assn.org.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports more than 85 percent of the world's research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to ensure the rapid dissemination of research information and its implementation in policy and practice. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs of abuse and other topics can be ordered free of charge in English and Spanish through NIDA Infofax at 1-888-NIH-NIDA (644-6432) or 1-888-TTY-NIDA (889-6432) for the deaf. These fact sheets and further information on NIDA research and other activities can be found on the NIDA home page at http://www.drugabuse.gov.