Adolescence is a time of constant and significant change. In fact, most people will never experience a more dramatic change than when in their adolescence. So, what’s changing? Everything! Adolescents are simultaneously experiencing biological, psychological, social, and role changes, meaning that their bodies, brains, emotions, relationships, and everything in-between are in a state of flux and growth. Youth (ages 12-17) and young adults (18-25) who engage in substance misuse or suffer from a substance use disorder (SUD) face additional challenges that impact their ability to successfully navigate their journey into adulthood.

Substance Use

According to the 2018 Monitoring the Future study and the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), we know that:

  • An estimated 3.7% of youth and 15.0% of young adults suffer from a substance use disorder (SUD) in the United States, compared to 6.6% of adults over the age of 26.
  • By 8th grade, nearly a quarter of students (24%) will have used alcohol and by 12th grade, that number increases to 59%.
  • 43% of 12th graders, 26% of 10th graders, and 9.2% of 8th graders said they had been drunk at least once in their lifetimes.
  • Marijuana is the most widely used illegal substance by youth.
  • One in five young adults are current cigarette smokers.

In 2018:

  • An estimated 9% of adolescents were current alcohol users
  • 1 in 6 adolescents had used an illicit substance in the past year.
  • About 1 in 8 youth used marijuana.
  • An estimated 55.1% of young adults were current alcohol users.
  • Approximately 2 in 5 young adults had used an illicit substance in the past year.
  • 2.4 million young adults had both a mental illness and a substance use disorder
  • About 3.8% of youth and 15.3% of young adults needed substance use treatment, but only 0.6% and 1.6%, respectively, received services.

Youth Services

OASAS presently offers a range of services and supports specifically designed to meet the needs of the youth and young adult population.

Treatment Services
  • Residential Rehabilitation for Youth (RRSY)- These are short- and long-term inpatient programs for youth with substance use and co-occurring disorders. These programs have an enhanced staffing pattern that better meets the developmental needs of adolescents.
  • Children and Family Treatment and Support Services (CFTSS)- new mental health and substance use services under New York State (NYS) Children’s Medicaid. They give children/youth (under age 21) and their families the power to improve their health, well-being, and quality of life. These services support families and give them the tools to make them stronger. Services can be provided at home or in the community
Recovery Services
  • Youth Clubhouses are drop-in centers for youth and young adults in recovery from or at risk of developing a substance use disorder. These programs provide recovery supports – including peer support – as well as skill-building and community engagement opportunities, educational and vocational support, recreational and prosocial activities, family engagement activities, and sessions on health and wellness.