Juvenile drug treatment courts must do more to bring families into the treatment process if they want to help young offenders overcome addiction and stay out of the criminal justice system, a team of mental health professionals concluded in a sweeping report released today.
We cannot afford inaction. Like other chronic illnesses with social, biological and environmental determinants, substance use disorders are best addressed with a full continuum of care including wellness and prevention, early intervention, treatment and continuing care, and recovery support services.
Let’s assume that there has been a real increase in parental substance abuse. The biggest flaw in HHS’ logic is the implicit assumption that the only way to respond to this is to throw the children into foster care.
New data in a recent Health and Human Services report shows both that the number of youth in the foster care system has risen for three straight years, and that the main culprit is parental drug abuse.
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While a national opioid crisis rages, the number of child welfare cases surges natinoally. Is this more than a coincidence?
“Both things are true, that we are seeing a spike in opioid use disorders and we’re seeing an increase in foster care placements,” said Sharon Amatetti, MPH, a chief at the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment at SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “But we can’t say that one is directly causing the other.”
For the SBIRT model to work, an open and honest conversation must occur between a young person and practitioner. But for a population that cannot legally consume alcohol and may be using illegal drugs, honest disclosure poses risks. Confidentiality is huge.