DYS - Substance Abuse Services for Juvenile Offenders

DYS recognizes substance abuse as a leading risk factor to re-offending behavior. This treatable problem has the potential of affecting the majority of DYS youth.


All committed youth are screened for substance abuse disorders using the GAIN-SS (Global Appraisal of Individual Needs-Short Screen). Youth determined to need further diagnostic assessment, based upon the GAIN-SS, will be administered the GAIN-CORE (Global Appraisal of Individual Needs-CORE Version). The results of the screening and assessment, along with other collateral data, will determine which substance services track the youth will be placed in: Treatment or Prevention Track.

Substance Abuse Service Tracks

Treatment: Committed Youth in need of substance abuse treatment based upon assessment, history and committing offense, receive services that address the clients' physical and/or psychological dependence on substances.

Prevention: Committed youth not in need of substance abuse treatment receive educational classes on substance use/abuse issues, individual education and other educational modalities as deemed necessary to enhance the clients' knowledge of substance-related issues.

Curriculum: Both tracks use evidence based curriculum. The Prevention Track uses Alternate Routes, the Treatment Tracks use the Matrix Model.


DYS does not randomly drug test committed youth.


Substance abuse services take place in all DYS residential programs after youth leave the assessment centers. All programs use the evidence based curriculum listed above. These curriculums use a strength-based approach that integrates the entire spectrum of substance abuse issues with other self-destructive behaviors; have a cross-walk with Dialectical Behavior Therapy and utilize motivational interview techniques. The curriculum is adolescent and gender specific. Additionally, the Department has collaborated successfully with other agencies to develop a community continuum of care for committed and high-risk youth. Among the efforts to provide a comprehensive program for substance abuse intervention are:

  • DYS has contracted with The Institute of Health and Recovery to provide a substance abuse services coordinator.
  • The Department of Public Health has funded 3 programs across the state to provide intense case management to adjunct the current services provided in the community.

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