Home > Family can play vital role in addressing substance use disorders among adolescents.

[EMCDDA] Family can play vital role in addressing substance use disorders among adolescents. (06 Feb 2014)

External website: http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/news/2014/mdft

The family can play a vital role in addressing the issue of substance use disorders among adolescents. This is according to the latest edition in the ‘EMCDDA papers’ series — Multidimensional family therapy for adolescent drug users: a systematic review — released today.

Adolescence is a period in human development during which individuals are more prone to risk-taking and less prone to impulse control. Some young people experiment with both licit and illicit substances during this time (alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and other drugs) and this can have an impact on their behaviour, their relationships with others and their functioning in society.

The new report focuses on multidimensional family therapy (MDFT), a form of inclusive therapy involving the young person, their family and their environment. Based on five studies carried out in the United States and the EU, the paper shows how this holistic approach can deliver promising results that are visible both during, and after, therapy.

Further studies may be needed, however, to confirm the preliminary positive results presented in this paper. One issue highlighted is that MDFT requires family engagement which cannot always be obtained. The approach may also come at a higher cost than other therapeutic options due to its high-intensity delivery, highlighting the need for accurate cost–benefit analyses.

MDFT is currently implemented in several European countries, including Belgium, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland. These countries are involved in a collaborative evaluation study — the International Cannabis Need of Treatment Project (INCANT) — which includes a randomised controlled trial of MDFT, funded under Europe’s Action Plan for Cannabis Research.


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