What we know about young people in alcohol and drug treatment

Topic Selected: Adolescent Health

General Article icon Type: General Article

This week PHE has published two important documents about young people’s sub-stance misuse.

The first is the 2015–16 annual report, which provides data on young people’s use of specialist substance misuse treatment services, which form part of the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS).

The second, a rapid mixed methods evidence review, commissioned by PHE and undertaken by The Children’s Society, is a review of young people’s specialist substance misuse services. This will help commissioners improve these services.

The annual report shows that the numbers of young people seeking treatment for problems with drugs and alcohol (17,000) continues to decline, since a peak in the numbers in 2008–09 (24,000).

While this is encouraging, and is in line with what we know about the declining use of drugs and alcohol among young people, we need to look behind the headline to understand the full picture.

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