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Information on Drug Rehab for Teens

Last Updated: Thursday, 11 July 2024
  • What You'll Learn

Treatment for adolescent substance use disorders involves detox, counseling or therapy, and aftercare support. Along with addiction treatment, these facilities also work with teens to help them avoid using drugs in the future, utilizing prevention and education. DRS has a directory of teen rehabs and other valuable information to help any family with teens struggling with addiction.

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Guide To Finding Adolescent Drug Treatment

Adolescent drug rehab centers are specifically designed to address the unique needs and challenges of this age group, providing age-appropriate treatment and support through detox, outpatient, or residential treatment.

Who is Adolescent Drug Rehab Good For?

Adolescent drug rehab programs are ideal for teens under some of the following circumstances:

  • Any teen struggling with a substance use disorder, whether they have received help or not. It’s better to get the problem under control now than wait until they begin their early adult years.
  • Teens who need a supportive peer environment. Adolescent drug rehab provides a supportive environment where young people can connect with peers who are facing similar challenges.
  • Adolescents who would benefit from life skills training. Most drug rehab centers for teens offer life skills counseling and training. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, for example, helps young people navigate the challenges of daily life, make healthy decisions, and build a strong foundation for their future.
  • Teens who need to adopt or learn coping strategies. This can become essential for young people who begin experimenting with drugs and are slowly losing the battle. Programs typically offer personalized coping strategies to help young people deal with stress, peer pressure, and other triggers that may contribute to substance use.
  • Adolescents who need to reconnect with their families. Drug rehab programs involve the family in the treatment process, recognizing the crucial role that family support can play in a young person’s recovery

It’s important to note that adolescent drug rehab may not be suitable for everyone. Each individual is unique, and the best rehab program aligns with their specific needs, circumstances, and goals for recovery.


The rehabilitation of teens differs significantly from that of adults, as teens face unique challenges and exhibit different levels of dependence on adults. During my time at a treatment facility, I observed several instances where teens were admitted for rehabilitation. One notable observation was that mixing male and female teens in the same program proved counterproductive. The physical and hormonal changes that teens undergo can create distractions for both genders, ultimately hindering their focus and progress in the rehabilitation program.

Another observation is that adults who complete treatment often benefit from relocating, allowing them to start fresh, find employment, and engage in aftercare programs more effectively. Relocation is generally more feasible for adults. However, for teens, the situation is more complex. They typically return to their parent’s home, which can be a significant trigger for relapse. School environments can also serve as triggers. Unlike adults, it is not easy to move an entire family to accommodate one child’s recovery needs, making post-treatment life for teens particularly challenging.

-Marcel Gemme, DATS

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  • What is adolescent drug rehab?

    Adolescent drug rehab is a rehabilitative service tailored to meet the needs of adolescents struggling with addiction. These options include detox centers, inpatient or outpatient programs, counseling, therapy, and different forms of aftercare support.

  • How is adolescent drug treatment different?

    Adolescent drug treatment offers specialized services for patients between the ages of 18 and 19. Such programs may or may not admit minors for treatment. Substance abuse treatment facilities specializing in treating teens or adolescents offer services that specifically address the common barriers to helping teens recover from addiction. That often means a larger emphasis on addiction’s impact on the family dynamic and other focuses like relapse prevention.

  • Are teens restricted to adolescent treatment only?

    No, adolescents ages 18 and 19 may attend any facility that any adult can. However, minors who are technically children under 18 may only seek treatment at certain facilities. These facilities must be licensed to provide care to minors because entirely different sets of rules surrounding confidentiality, boarding, and care apply. Minors may even be legally forced into treatment by their parents in extreme situations, so these facilities must be prepared and equipped for such patients.

  • Are there benefits to adolescent drug treatment?

    Yes, adolescent treatment programs are geared toward helping teens recover from addiction and prevent relapse. Because these programs provide specialized services and pay extra attention to the needs of teens struggling with addiction, they can make a big difference in the patient’s success. In adult programs, teens may feel disconnected or like treatment doesn’t apply to them, significantly lowering their chances of finding success.

  • Is adolescent substance use a phase in life?

    No, it is not a phase in life. There is always a reason why teens begin to experiment with drugs or alcohol and why they eventually become dependent on or addicted to these substances.

    When parents notice the signs of addiction, it is important to intervene. Substance abuse affects the growth and development of teens, especially brain development.

    Teens will begin to engage in risky behaviors, such as unprotected sex and dangerous activities. Drug and alcohol abuse among teens also contributes to adult health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and sleep disorders.

  • Want to know more?

    The questions from Addicted.org’s “Learn from our Experts” are answered by Michael Leach, CCMA. If you need further clarification on any of the questions above or have any other questions you can contact him directly at mike@addicted.org.

Common Terminology Surrounding Adolescent Drug Rehab

Motivational Enhancement Therapy
is a therapy process that inspires teens to take part in drug addiction treatment. The therapy process is paired with other therapy methods to motivate teens to plan for recovery.
Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach
typically used as an intervention method to help replace negative environmental factors with healthy ones. An approach used to help teens living in dangerous environments.
Contingency Management
a common treatment approach used to rewards healthy behaviors and focusses on improving teens’ support systems.
Family Behavioral Therapy
therapy sessions improving communication between families and addicts. The goal is to create a healthier family dynamic and improves family relationships.
Brief Strategic Family Therapy
therapy sessions targeting drug abuse in the family and provides counseling to family members and addicts.
Multidimensional Family Therapy
community-based treatment and support for troubled or violent teens. The programs connect families with a school or the juvenile justice system.
are volatile substances that produce chemical vapors that can be inhaled. These are common household products that are easily accessible by teens.
these drugs are a diverse group of substances that alter a person’s awareness of their surroundings as well as their own thoughts and feelings. Teens commonly abuse hallucinogens as a recreational drug.
Synthetic Marijuana
synthetic cannabinoids, K2, or Spice are man-made mind-altering chemicals that are sprayed or dried on the shredded plant material so it can be smoked. Teens commonly use K2 or Spice.
is inhaling of a vapor created by an electronic cigarette or other vaping device and is common amount teens, especially with marijuana and tobacco-based products.

Contributors To This Article



More Information

Marcel Gemme has been helping people struggling with addiction for over 19 years. He first started as an intake counselor for a drug rehabilitation center in 2000. During his 5 years as an intake counselor, he helped many addicts get the treatment they needed. He also dealt with the families and friends of those people; he saw first-hand how much strain addiction puts on a family and how it can tear relationships apart. With drug and alcohol problems constantly on the rise in the United States and Canada, he decided to use the Internet as a way to educate and help many more people in both those countries. This was 15 years ago. Since then, Marcel has built two of the largest websites in the U.S. and Canada which reach and help millions of people each year. He is an author and a leader in the field of drug and alcohol addiction. His main focus is threefold: education, prevention and rehabilitation. To this day, he still strives to be at the forefront of technology in order to help more and more people. He is a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Treatment Specialist graduate with Honours of Stratford Career Institute. Marcel has also received a certificate from Harvard for completing a course entitled The Opioid Crisis in America and a certificate from The University of Adelaide for completing a course entitled AddictionX: Managing Addiction: A Framework for Succesful Treatment.



More Information

Michael Leach is a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant, who has over 5 years of experience working in the field of addiction. He spent his career working under the board-certified Addictionologist Dr. Rohit Adi. His experience includes working with families during their loved one’s stay in treatment, helping those with substance abuse issues find treatment, and teaching life skills to patients in a recovery atmosphere. Though he has worked in many different areas of rehabilitation, the majority of his time was spent working one on one with patients who were actively withdrawing from drugs. Withdrawal and the fear of going through it is one biggest reason why an addict continues to use and can be the most difficult part of the rehabilitation process. His experience in the withdrawal atmosphere has taught him that regardless of what approach a person takes to get off drugs, there are always mental and emotional obstacles that need to be overcome. He believes having someone there to help a person through these obstacles can make all the difference during the withdrawal process.