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Home > UNODC training materials on elements of family therapy for the treatment of adolescents with drug and other substance use disorders: including adolescents in contact with or at risk of contact with the criminal justice system.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (2020) UNODC training materials on elements of family therapy for the treatment of adolescents with drug and other substance use disorders: including adolescents in contact with or at risk of contact with the criminal justice system. Vienna: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

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Adolescence represents a time in the lives of young people when they navigate the transition from childhood to adulthood while undergoing many physical and emotional changes. Adolescence is also a time of increased vulnerability to different influences and often the onset of risk behaviours, which may include substance use and delinquency. Vulnerability to initiating and developing substance use and substance use disorders and problem behaviours such as delinquency is associated with a number of biopsychosocial risk and protective factors at various levels. Risk and protective factors can be divided into three primary categories: familial, social (e.g., deviant peer relationships, peer pressure, bullying and gang affiliation), and individual (e.g., attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression and posttraumatic stress disorder).

Several policy documents, including the Commission on Narcotic Drugs resolution 58/2 “Supporting treatment and care for children and young people with substance use disorders” have called on the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to encourage Member States to “consider implementing scientific evidence-based treatment and sustained recovery programmes, such as psychosocial care, for children and young people that may involve the inclusion of family”. Further policy documents such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990) and the United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency (1990) have given key consideration to the role of the family. In response, UNODC, in close collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), developed Treatnet Family – UNODC training materials on elements of family therapy for the treatment of adolescents with substance use disorders, including those in contact with the criminal justice system, as a scalable and skills-based intervention.


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