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Substance Abuse Treatment:
The Role of Early Education and Access to Treatment Programs for Minority Youth Patricia Taveras
Rutgers University

In this article, survey techniques are used to examine early drug education and early access to treatment to determine their effects on treatment outcomes among minority adolescents. The literature review serves as a starting point for greater attention in research, to address the lack of representation minorities have in substance abuse treatment. The research proposal is asking minorities (n=200), through a survey method, to answer questions about prior drug education, family history and prior access to clinical treatment. The results will show the youths who received both factors will show a better attitude and compliance towards their treatment.

Substance use and dependency amongst adolescents is a major social issue of today’s youth culture. Teenagers who suffer from addiction face many obstacles like stigma, rejection and social isolation. They are forced to address a life long disease at a time in their life when they do not want to be seen as different. Substance use alters the chemicals in the young and undeveloped brain of an adolescent. These alterations can have long lasting affects in the brain. Research also has shown that teens lack brain development to make rational decisions, for example, seeking treatment or acknowledging the problem. Non-compliance leads a youth to leave treatment early or lack the motivation to complete the program successfully. A youth with access to information and medical treatment has normal hesitations to pursue therapeutic services, which is reinforced by statistics showing low numbers of teenagers seeking support.

Research on substance abuse and treatment has shown wide differences between white and minority adolescents. Caucasian adolescents show higher rates of obtaining treatment and overcoming the dieses. The wide statistical differences reinforce the need to make changes to intervention and assistance to minority youths. Minority youths face higher risk factors for substance dependency than their white counterparts. Risk factors could be past family history, deviant peer associations, low self-esteem and family or community stressors. Problem Statement:

Earlier drug education to both parents and youth and easier access to long-term substance abuse treatments at a younger age will increase the number of minority youth that receive and successfully complete substance abuse treatment.

Literature Review
The role of criminal history and socioeconomic status will increase the likelihood of a minority receiving substance abuse treatment. Racial-ethnic minorities have higher rates of drug use than whites. Past studies have had disparities in access and utilization of mental health services by minorities. However, as reported by Alegria and Cook (2011) studies have shown that minority groups have been found to receive substance abuse treatment at equal or higher rates than non-whites. This statistic goes against surveys on medical accessibility in minority groups as reported in the study. The high rates of minorities in substance abuse treatment lead for the survey to examine the role of socioeconomic status and criminal history. The findings suggest that a criminal history and a low socioeconomic status were found in the minorities that were receiving treatment. In comparison to their white counterparts, there were a high percentage of minorities receiving treatment on parole. The treatment intervention becomes mandated and coerced by the criminal justice system. The study by Alegria and Cook reports the representation of minorities in treatment facilities shows the economic disadvantage because they are receiving intervention through a mandated court programs. These finding reinforces the need for preventative intervention that is not mandated or coerced. Early education and intervention could...
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