Expanding Addiction Treatment in Schools

This review by Dennis and colleagues highlights the need for substance use disorder (SUD) treatment for adolescents in the U.S.

Adolescents with SUD are under-treated; especially given the fact that early intervention exists, and has been shown to reduce lifetime substance use disorder (SUD) and related disabilities.

Dennis et al. discuss:


The authors review how the severity of substance use disorder is related to a broad range of school, substance, mental, health and health care utilization problems, looking at 3 additional studies that supported the importance and need for treatment among adolescents and how using evidence-based treatment and practices in school setting could be integrated and used more.



Substance use disorder is an endemic, high volume, high burden, public health problem.

The disorder typically onsets during adolescence, and similar to other medical illnesses, early intervention has been shown to reduce the chronicity and impact of substance use disorder.

Consequently, being able to detect and intervene early with substance-related problems is likely to yield significant public health dividends. School settings are an essential place to do this, and the use of evidence-based screening, assessment, and interventions are increasing.



Dennis, M. L., Clark, H. W., & Huang, L. N. (2014). The need and opportunity to expand substance use disorder treatment in school-based settings. Advances in school mental health promotion, 7(2), 75-87.