Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Treatment Programs

Care and Treatment of Youth with Substance Use Disorders

Across the country, substance use and abuse among youth and young adults continues to increase at startling rates.  Colorado is no exception and with the legalization of marijuana, treatment providers face new challenges for behavioral health care specific to substance use services.  Adolescents and young adults need substance use disorder services that are developmentally appropriate, include the family or other supportive adults, when appropriate, and should be delivered by clinicians that have experience working with youth, prefer working with youth and are appropriately credentialed.  

Substance Use Disorder Programs Treating Youth

The Office of Behavioral Health values and recognizes the distinct emotional, developmental and psychological needs of adolescents and young adults.   Adolescents, 17 and under and young adults, defined as 18-26, present very differently, have very different needs then adults, are in a wide range of emotional developmental  stages, as well as distinct physical differences.  OBH has continually developed, supported and researched developmentally appropriate service delivery for these two very different populations. The office of behavioral health has for years revised the Behavioral Health Rules that all licensed treatment providers need to adhere to, when they identify they provide services to this population.  These include specific requirements for licensed providers delivering services to youth under the age of 20 that have received a Minor in Possession offense (MIP) that is also in Statue.  These rules also include specific requirements for youth under 21 that have received a Driving under the Influence citation.  Both of these rules address the unique needs of youth and require screening and assessment instruments designed and developed for youth as well as the requirement to use curriculums that were designed and developed for youth.

How Many Youth And Young Adults Are Actually Receiving Treatment Services In Colorado?

The office of Behavioral Health licenses approximately 700 facilities across the State.  Of those, about 300 are licensed to treat youth.  These agencies have to follow all the rules in 2 CCR 502-1, Behavioral Health Treatment Rules, along with the separate sections that address serving Youth and young adults.  On average, approximately 3,100 youth under the age of 17 receive treatment services ranging from general outpatient to residential services, DUI and Detox and approximately 19,700 youth 18-25 received similar treatment services. 

For more information about adolescent substance use disorder treatment programs, please contact:

  Katie Wells, Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Programs Manager
   Office of Behavioral Health
   katie.wells@state.co.us | 303.866.7501