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Mental Health Disorders and Substance Abuse Problems Among Juveniles

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 1998
2 pages
After estimating the prevalence of mental health disorders and substance abuse problems among justice-involved youth, this Fact Sheet proposes four key steps governments and private organizations can take to address these needs.
Research indicates that juvenile delinquents are more likely than non-delinquent youth to have mental health disorders and substance abuse problems. In addition, juvenile justice agencies generally lack the resources and services required to address these prevalent needs. One key step in addressing this issue is to install a more extensive and accurate system for assessing the presence of mental health and drug abuse needs of youth in the justice system. A second key step is to develop and require the administration of a reliable instrument for assessing the mental health and drug abuse needs of all juveniles entering the justice system. A third key step is to increase the number of quality treatment programs for juveniles with mental health and drug abuse needs in both the community and juvenile custodial facilities. The fourth step is to focus on juveniles who are at risk for delinquency rather than those already in the juvenile justice system. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's (OJJDP's) efforts to improve the implementation of these steps are described.

Date Published: July 1, 1998