court ordered rehab for teens

Mandatory addiction treatment is prescribed for teens with drug or substance use issues through a court. Early intervention is seen as a new option for juveniles who need help overcoming addiction. Rather than sentence a teen to jail time, this alternative is seen as a positive step towards rehabilitation with recovery as the ultimate goal. Whether or not it works depends on many factors including the juvenile justice system and the teen’s ability to navigate the system.


Juvenile System

Adolescents who have had contact with the juvenile justice system require early intervention including screening and assessment to determine the most positive response to addiction treatment. Court-ordered treatment and monitoring may be the most effective approach to address addiction for many adolescents. Many factors are involved in the treatment of juveniles who face addiction and the justice system.


Structure of Mandated Rehab

Teens who are sentenced to mandatory drug or substance use treatment programs are provided rigid, rigorous schedules which follow a structure to support positive growth. From the time an adolescent enters a facility, the teen is required to sit down for meals, go to school, attend groups and find stability in the structure to support something usually missing from life at home. Knowing what to expect on a daily basis can support a teen in completing the program successfully with help to develop structure for life outside of treatment.


What to Expect

A teen will spend lots of time discussing thoughts, feelings and behaviors associated with addiction in treatment.  Process groups help teens connect with others in the beginning, middle or end of the treatment journey which can facilitate further learning through hearing and seeing peers work the program. Change is a powerful motivator for teens who notice others undergoing transformation in the program. Basic behavioral therapy techniques will be used including positive reinforcement within the strict structure already in place. Therapists work to reward clients for what is done well rather than pointing out what was done incorrectly. Other things a teen might experience in treatment include:

  • Basic needs met to focus fully on recovery
  • Safe space with supportive staff and living space that is clean and comfortable
  • Opportunities to socialize, go to movies, hikes or events and learn to have fun without substance use


Supportive Environment

Leaving the safe space of a treatment program can be challenging for teens. Often the environment a teen returns to can trigger people, places and things which remind the youth of using drugs or alcohol. Family or friends may still be using substances which makes it a less than healthy environment for staying sober. The community can be supportive of a teen by encouraging volunteers to help by meeting with the teens to discuss life after rehab, among other things. Seeing success is possible in the real world can help build a positive foundation for long term success after treatment ends and recovery begins.


Hired Power provides recovery assistance services and resources for families. If you are a teen or parent/caregiver of a teen with addiction, call to find out how we can help at 800-910-9299.