This is an evidence-based course on the assessment of adolescent substance abusers. This is the first module of the series (Adolescent Substance Abuse Intervention Series) on assessment and treatment of adolescents with substance abuse problems. The course may be taken by itself and is a stand-alone study.  A core curriculum in addiction studies for mental health and addiction professionals. Appropriate course selection for those seeking to meet addiction certification education requirements.

Developed by: Karen Albig Smith, LMFT, LCAS, MAC, CAP, SAP, SAE

Revised 2024

Overview of the whole series:  Increasingly in substance abuse service delivery, assessment, intervention, and prevention supported by science are being required.  Evidence-based best practices permit increased efficacy, a better utilization of all resources and reduce recidivism.  This seven module series is provided to bring such science-based assessment, prevention, and intervention information to the substance abuse intervention specialist.  The text for this series is The Cannabis Youth Treatment Series:  Volume 1-6. (SAMHSA/CSAT: Please note that while the title of the treatment manual series pertains to cannabis abuse and dependency problems we assert that the practices described in these manuals constitute valid best practices for early intervention (prevention), outpatient and intensive outpatient intervention with youth who are abusing alcohol, and other drugs.  Youth who meet dependency criteria for alcohol, opiates, other habit-forming drugs, and cocaine will require a more intense level of care than the models described in this manual.

Module One provides an overview of prevention, assessment, and intervention in adolescent substance abuse prevention, outpatient, and intensive outpatient services.  Module Two presents a five-session model of combined Motivational Enhancement Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  Module Three presents a supplemental seven-session CBT treatment focusing on coping skills.  Module Four presents the Family Support Network approach.  Module Five describes the Community Reinforcement Approach, and Module Six describes Multidimensional Family Therapy.  Module Six presents the Multidimensional Family Therapy model.  Module Seven is due for release in 2014 entitled Brief Strategic Family Therapy for Adolescent Drug Abuse. Each of these approaches represents the culmination of years of challenging theory and practice to articulate and test models for intervening with youth.  Learners using the entire series will be well equipped to provide early intervention, outpatient, and intensive outpatient services to the substance abusing youth population.

Overview of this module:

Module One:  Adolescent Substance Abuse Assessment overviews assessment information and protocol geared toward the evidence-based substance abuse models recommended for use with adolescents. (Motivational Enhancement Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Community Reinforcement, Family Support Network and Multi-Systemic Family Therapy - SAMHSA/CSAT: The module approaches assessment as a function of the care continuum from prevention: identifying risk and protective factors to comprehensive assessment including diagnosis, and placement determination.  Learners can expect to become familiar with science determined risk and protective factors, screening, completing the diagnostic workup, and the Global Assessment of Functioning scale.  The elements of comprehensive assessment are described including objective, prospective and inferential measures, the application of inclusion and exclusion criteria, and assessment protocol.  Learners will learn the features of the integrated summary.  Assessment information is crucial to making an accurate placement decision.  The study guide will familiarize learners with the ASAM Adolescent levels of Care and discusses the six dimensions used in making placement determinations.  The study also discusses the importance of understanding the potential for co-morbid conditions and provides reference sheets for use in interviewing to identify various additional problems that may co-present with adolescent substance abusers.  The study provides a discussion of ethical, legal and confidentiality issues that all assessment professionals need to understand when working with minor clients. 

1.  Participants will be able to use a three-pronged approach to assessing the adolescents with substance abuse problems.
2.  Participants will be able to screen for substance abuse risk and protective factors.
3.  Participants will be able to utilize ASAM patient placement criteria in determining a level of care.
4.  Participants will be able to identify tools used to assess adolescent substance abuse.
Learning Assessment:
1.  Participants will be able to identify the three prongs of substance abuse assessment.
2.  Participants will be able to discuss how adolescent clients differ from adult clients.
3.  Participants will be able to identify substance abuse risk and protective factors.
4.  Participants will be able to list the six ASAM dimensions.
5.  Participants will be able to identify the diagnostic criteria for substance abuse.
6.  Participants will be able to discuss adolescent substance abuse assessment tools.

CE Credits: 4

Hour One: Introduction: Issues in Adolescent Substance Abuse Assessment, Risk Identification, and Screening.
Hour Two: Diagnosis and the GAF, Comprehensive Assessment.
Hour Three: The psychosocial interview.
Hour Four: Comorbidity, Levels of Care, Legal, Ethical and Confidentiality.

Methods: Pre-test, study guide, posttest and evaluation, internet sources via URLs, Q&A by email.

CE Broker#: 20-301161

Content Areas:  Adolescent issues, Addictions, Helping relationship, Treatment knowledge, Counseling, Classes in a series.

Purpose: This evidence-based course prepares practitioners to utilize a variety of assessment tools and methodologies with substance abusing adolescents.

Target Audience:  Social workers, marriage and family therapists, licensed professional counselors, mental health counselors, nurses, employee assistance professionals, addiction professionals, behavioral health technicians, and other allied professionals.

View a list of our approvals on our approvals page

Online Course

CE Broker#:
CE Credits:

Filed under the following topics: