When designing a treatment or prevention plan, singling out treatment and prevention efforts to the individual is virtually ineffective due to the multiple issues that is entangled with substance abuse. Without taping into unresolved issues, treating only the substance abuser still leaves room for sparks to fuel the cycle of abuse (Fischer & Lyness, 2005). Fischer and Lyness (2005) further emphasize this statement by stating, “Helping parents to manage a behaviorally dis-inhibited child effectively may interrupt the negative sequence of events from childhood to young adulthood. Helping parents cope with a substance-abusing child or adolescent is as critical as helping children cope with a substance-abusing parent” (as cited in McKenry & Price 2005 p. 169). Researchers have determined inadequate parent/child relationships correlate to patterns of substance abuse whether it is the beginning cycle of substance abuse, increased patterns, or revert back to past substance abuse behaviors (Rowe & Liddle 2003). When designing a treatment plan, questions necessary to ask are the amount of social support, friends, and extended family that is available.
Research suggests that peer pressure and impulse control are major factors in predicting adolescent alcohol and substance abuse. Adolescents are strongly influenced by what their peers are doing. My friends are drinking and experimenting with drugs, why shouldn’t I (Fischer & Lyness, 2005)?
Adolescents sometimes exhibit a complex set of behaviors and personality dispositions that are variously labeled, but at their core invoke the idea of dies-inhibition” (Fischer & Lyness, 2005). Further evidence that peer pressure plays a major role in predictors of substance abuse is my experience in high school. If you wanted alcohol, it was easy to find an irresponsible adult that would purchase alcohol for minors. If you were “in” with an adult, you were popular with your peers because you knew how to acquire alcohol and other illegal substances.
Open parent child communication, guidance, direction, and nurturing are all positive factors in reducing adolescent substance abuse (Fischer & Lyness, 2005). Researchers “found reduced levels of substance use among high school-aged adolescents who had such a parent” (Fischer & Lyness, 2005 p. 168). More access to Boys and Girls Clubs along with other after school functions all have a positive influence in reducing levels of adolescent substance abuse.
Family based therapy has significant benefits including a larger family participation rate. Research suggests that almost 90% of families involved in family based therapy actually attended the first meeting as opposed to parent only treatment centers (Rowe & Liddle 2003).
Researchers also suggest that family therapy may be the best route for family recovery, but no one single approach has shown significant recovery improvement from substance abuse. The largest reason is addicted adolescents hang out with peers that frown on prevention and typically deny the degree of their problem. After detoxifying, many adolescents continue behaviors that lead to substance abuse in the first place. If the family unit is fairly stable, treatments that teach adolescents to cope with physical maturation and raging hormones may prove to be a positive moderator in prevention or intervention (Rathus 2006).