Adolescence is a tumultuous time as youth attempt to define themselves and become more independent. Most youth progress through the various milestones with little to no difficulty; however, for some, adolescence is the period during which behavioral and emotional difficulties emerge or are exacerbated.
In fact, a recent study estimated that 8 percent of adolescents have a serious emotional disturbance, and 10 percent report having used an illicit drug in the past month.
The University of Kentucky Center on Drug and Alcohol Research states that the neurodevelopment of the brain renders the adolescent brain more vulnerable to addiction than the adult brain, therefore making the effects of substance use more damaging to adolescents' brains than to adults' brains in many ways, and in some cases may have long-lasting effects. Early and effective treatment for substance abuse among adolescents is a high-priority public health problem.
In January 2014, $19 million was secured from two pharmaceutical settlements to enhance and improve the adolescent treatment services in the state. Substance abuse treatment grant proposals from across the commonwealth have been selected for funding through the KY Kids Recovery program.
The grants fund comprehensive adolescent substance abuse treatment programs, both expanding the number of treatment beds at existing facilities and creating new adolescent treatment programs with the full continuum of care, including intensive outpatient and follow-up care centers. Also set aside was $1 million to implement school-based screening for substance use and mental health issues in middle and high schools across the state using an evidence-based screening and referral to treatment protocol.
Adolescent Substance Use Treatment programs have become an integral part of Kentucky's Children and Families System of Care. Treatment services are provided across the state, not only by the regional community mental health centers, but also other providers. These programs range from community-based outpatient programs to short-term residential treatment programs based on a youth's level of treatment need. These programs use state and federal funds administered by the Division of Behavioral Health for Kentuckians experiencing a substance abuse/use or co-occurring substance use and mental health concern.
Division of Behavioral Health personnel provide technical assistance to providers and help to coordinate the development of these programs at the state level.
To identify treatment options in your area, use the links in the Related Links box to "Provider Directory" or "KY Kids Recovery."
For more information on school-based screening information, use the link in the Related Links box to "KDE School-Based Behavioral Health Screening Initiative."