Young people in foster care and substance use

Semin Pediatr Neurol. 2024 Jul:50:101136. doi: 10.1016/j.spen.2024.101136. Epub 2024 Jun 4.


Adolescents are at high risk for using substances and for young people in foster care, substance use rates are estimated to be as high as 49 %. Adolescence is an important period for preventing substance use and SUD. Universal screening, brief interventions, and substance use treatment can be used to decrease substance use and substance use disorders among adolescents. Brief interventions often used with adolescents include motivational interviewing and contingency management. Of the many types of outpatient therapies utilized to treat adolescents with substance use disorder, some of the most established include cognitive behavioral therapy, family-based therapy, and a combination of different types of interventions. Medication treatment is less frequently offered to adolescents due to buprenorphine being the only drug FDA approved for youth under the age of 18. Residential treatment is also an option if lower levels of care are not adequate to safely support youth. Lastly, limited research has looked at the effectiveness of continuing care options to support youth in maintaining treatment results.

Keywords: Adolescents and substance use.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Foster Home Care*
  • Humans
  • Substance-Related Disorders* / therapy