Criteria for Early Intervention (Adolescents)

Early intervention is when the professional attempts to stop the patient’s continued substance abuse.  It is the first intervention attempted and should only be use when the patient shows early signs and symptoms of alcohol or drug problems.

A.  Examples: Student assistance programs, one-to-one counseling with atrisk adolescents,  educational programs for first-time driving under the influence offenders.
B.  Setting: Any appropriate setting, including clinical offices, treatment facilities, schools, workplace, community centers, or the adolescent’s home.

C.  Support systems:
1.  Adolescent may be referred for ongoing treatment for substance abuse or dependency.
2.  The adolescent may be referred for medical, psychological, or psychiatric services.
3.  The adolescent may be referred to a substance abuse professional for an alcohol and drug assessment.
4.  The adolescent may be referred for community services.

D.  Interventions:

1.  Individual, group, or family counseling.
2.  Planned educational programs focused on helping the adolescent recognize and avoid harmful consequences of inappropriate substance use.

E.  Criteria for Admission
The adolescent’s problems and risk factors appear to be related to substance use but do not meet the criteria for alcohol abuse or dependence.

1.  Any biomedical problems are stable or are being addressed.
2.  Any emotional or behavioral conditions are being addressed through appropriate mental health services.
3.  The adolescent expresses a willingness to gain an understanding of how his or her current use of alcohol or drugs may be harmful.
4.  The situation is characterized by one of the following:
a.  The adolescent does not understand the need to alter his or her current pattern of alcohol or drug abuse to prevent further harm.
b.  The adolescent needs to acquire the specific skills needed to change his or her current pattern of alcohol or drug use.

5.  The adolescent’s living environment is characterized by one of the following:

a.  The social support system is composed primarily of individuals whose substance use patterns are harmful.
b.  Family members currently are abusing alcohol or drugs.
c.  Significant others express values concerning alcohol or drug use that create significant conflict for the adolescent.
d.  Significant others condone or encourage inappropriate alcohol or drug use.


Robert R. Perkinson,  PHD
Helping Your Clients Find the Road to Recovery

Alcoholism - Treatment.  I.  Title.
RC565.P375 - 2004
616.86’10651- dc22

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