When an adolescent has been identified as abusing drugs, alcohol, or both, a complete assessment of this young person must be completed by qualified health professionals before the level of treatment is chosen. With our present state of knowledge of substance-abusing adolescents, this assessment must focus on every sphere of the child's life, not just the quantity and frequency of the drug use. Most substance-abusing young people have experienced deep psychological trauma that must be identified and eventually treated. A family evaluation and psychological testing are crucial to the evaluation of these adolescents. When choosing a treatment facility for a substance-abusing adolescent, it is best to select a treatment program that requires family involvement. An adolescent treatment program should include treatment of both the family and the child, and it must include the goal of abstinence from mood-altering substances as a major component of recovery.