Substance Use Treatment Outcomes in a Sample of Male Serious Juvenile Offenders

Publication Date: June 2008

Publisher: MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice (ADJJ)

Author(s): Diana Naranjo; Sandra H. Losoya; Delfino Vargas-Chanes; George Knight; Laurie Chassin

Research Area: Population and demographics; Social conditions

Keywords: Treatment; Youth offenders; Substance use; Juvenile offending

Type: Report

Coverage: Pennsylvania Arizona


This study examined drug-treatment-related reductions in alcohol and marijuana use, cigarette smoking, and nondrug offending among male adolescents who had been adjudicated of a serious (almost exclusively felony) offense. Results indicated that the "real-world" drug treatments that these adolescents experienced had significant effects on substance use, which could not be explained solely by incarceration in controlled environments. However, effects on cigarette smoking and criminal offending were found only for treatments that included family involvement. Results suggest that involving families in adolescents' treatment may be useful for promoting desistence from criminal offending in this population.