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.

Most Recent Blog Posts

5 Ways To Forgive Yourself In Recovery

    Sometimes, in active addiction, we do things we aren’t proud of. We may have hurt the ones we love, do things we are ashamed of, and caused harm to ourselves. We may feel guilty, embarrassed, and angry. Although you may have gotten substance abuse treatment and are...

    Read More

    Recognizing A Problem With Alcohol

      It can be fun and relaxing to go out for drinks with your friends on Friday nights after a long work week or have a cocktail before bed. Many people drink alcohol and do so regularly, but how do you know when your drinking has become a problem? When many of us think...

      Read More

      Which 12-Step Program Is Right For Me?

        12-Step programs are a common part of addiction recovery. Many treatment programs utilize a 12-Step approach, and many of those recovering choose to attend meetings after they complete their treatment. Attending meetings can help individuals maintain their recovery...

        Read More


        21062 Brookhurst St. #201, Huntington Beach, CA 92646

        ©2021 All Rights Reserved. Design & Development by Goldman Marketing Group | Sitemap | Privacy Policy The information available on this web site is provided for informational purposes only. This information is not intended to replace a medical consultation where a physician's judgment may advise you about specific disorders, conditions and or treatment options. We hope the information will be useful for you to become more educated about your health care decisions. If you are vision-impaired or have some other impairment covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act or a similar law, and you wish to discuss potential accommodations related to using this website, please contact us at