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Licensed Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Programs


Substance Use Disorder Programs for Adolescents in Colorado

Research in the field of Substance Abuse Services for youth has exploded over the past 8 to 10 years. Colorado is one of only a few states that has treatment standards specific to the treatment of minors. A minor is defined as 18 and younger. For the last 15 years, Colorado has focused on the specific needs of adolescents in treatment settings. Annually the Division of Behavioral Health (DBH) serves over 5,000 adolescents in every modality through their licensed treatment programs. Colorado has over 350 program sites, licensed to treat Minors. When a program chooses to become licensed to treat minors, there are additional requirements they must meet in order to provide the most effective; youth focused services to all clients and their families.

There is an estimated 28,990 substance abusers 10-18 years of age in Colorado. Of these at least 50-60% were diagnosed with a mental health issue in addition to their substance abuse.  With approximately 5,000 youth completing treatment in our licensed programs, that leaves 23,586 young people that do not receive services. The primary drug of choice continues to be marijuana followed by alcohol. Colorado is seeing an increase in prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. The Partnership for a Drug-Free America reported that teen abuse of prescription and over-the-counter medicines remains a serious concern across the country. Local Colorado substance abuse treatment providers, report an alarming increase of youth experimenting with OTC’s and prescription drugs and mixing these drugs with alcohol.

DBH will continue to focus on providing the most effective, evidence-based services for adolescents and their families.  The purpose of this link is to offer providers and consumers a place to go to see what is available for adolescents and to keep current on what the latest research reports on adolescent treatment. To view the compendium of approved Evaluation instruments and curriculums agencies working with youth must implement, see Approved Evaluation Instrumentation and Approved Education and Treatment Curricula.

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