Adolescent Substance Abuse: 30 – 90 Day After-Care-First Program

I developed the After Care First Program as a way to address families that come into my practice after their teenager has shown signs that he/she is using marijuana, alcohol and/or prescription drugs. Unfortunately, Ventura County is seeing a major rise in the use of these substances and a drop in the age that they are beginning experimentation. After Care First (ACF) is designed to involve the entire family in a concentrated attempt to help a teen take control of their life and the direction is going. The ACF Program uses five major areas over a thirty to ninety day period in assessing if a teen can maintain sobriety & participate in creating peace in the home and feel better about themselves. These five categories are:

1. Sobriety: the program includes regular toxicology testing,
2. Scholastic Performance: we focus on initiative & effort rather than grades at first,
3. Socialization: each participant completes a ‘friend inventory’,
4. Home-Life: teens learn alternatives to oppositional behavior and,
5. Spiritual: this can mean attending church programs and/or a deeper connection with nature, etc.
(6. Parents ability to parent their child’s developmental level and promote healthy independence).

The program looks at the family as a system that supports each person’s role whether it is functional or dysfunctional. These roles can sometimes support a teen’s use of illegal drugs because they are acting out the system’s dysfunction of living up to a role that the family (unconsciously) believes about them. ACF is an assessment program to determine if a child can be treated in a private practice setting or if they need outpatient or residential treatment. See Educational Consultant Services: Adolescent Outpatient & Residential.