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Substance Abuse Treatment Options for Teens are Few

Addiction and Honesty - the Bergand Group

Teenagers looking for treatment for substance abuse have few options, according to a recent article in US News and World Report. The reasons for this are many, as well as complex, but the need for substance abuse treatment and recovery resources for teens is clear: “Within the last five years, drug overdoses have become one of the top three killers of 15 to 19 year olds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” Despite this alarming fact, teenagers continue to struggle to access substance abuse treatment and recovery options. Why?

Lack of Parental Knowledge

Often, parents are unaware that their teenager is abusing substances, and may attribute unusual actions of stereotypical teenage behavior. By the time they do find out their teenager is using drugs, it may have developed into an addiction, making recovery even more difficult. A recent study showed that while many parents believed they knew the signs that their child had a substance abuse problem, few were able to name more than a few of these signs. Once parents discover their teenager’s problems, they may wait too long to seek treatment for multiple reasons, including denial or a lack of knowledge of recovery programs.

Lack of Hospital Services

Few childrens hospitals have substance abuse treatment programs, and even many non-childrens hospitals don’t offer these types of services in their mental health divisions. The reason is that these services are often times not-profitable for the hospitals, as they require treatment across many levels of care. Even though these services for youths are in high demand, support on the state level is also insufficient.


The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act was passed in 2008, and “requires group health plans and health insurance issuers to ensure that financial requirements (such as co-pays, deductibles) and treatment limitations (such as visit limits) applicable to mental health or substance use disorder (MH/SUD) benefits are no more restrictive than the predominant requirements or limitations applied to substantially all medical/surgical benefits.” Despite this, insurance companies still deny treatment for mental health issues if the patient has a substance abuse issue. Insurance companies may also drop coverage during treatment, leaving the patient’s family unable to pay for the rest of the treatment.


If you believe your teenager may be using substances, there are many ways to recognize substance abuse in teenagers. Talk to your teenager about substance abuse, and engage them in substance abuse prevention to stop this problem before it starts.

About The Bergand Group

The Bergand Group is an addiction treatment center located in Baltimore, MD. Our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol treatment and drug treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. To speak with someone at our office, please call us at 410-853-7691. You can also contact us via email, and follow us on FacebookGoogle+Twitter and LinkedIn.


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