Cocaine is a dangerous stimulant that remains a very real threat to the health and wellbeing of adolescents throughout the United States. About 4.5% of high school students will abuse powdered cocaine before they graduate, and about 1.8% will smoke crack, a more potent and thus more dangerous form of the drug. The risks associated with adolescent cocaine abuse are stark, from the potential lethality of first-time use to the likelihood that a young person will develop a dependence upon this highly addictive substance. Whether they abuse cocaine alone or, as is often the case, in combination with alcohol and other drugs, adolescents who experiment with this drug are literally putting their lives in danger and their futures at risk.
At Youth Care, we have been helping adolescents overcome problems related to cocaine abuse and other concerns for more than a quarter of a century. Over that time, we have developed unique insights into the factors that influence a young person to begin to abuse cocaine and the many challenges that they face when trying to end their dependence and once again live drug-free lives. We have developed effective programming that empowers adolescents to develop the skills and strategies that will allow them to achieve and maintain long-term recovery from their cocaine addiction and the co-occurring disorders that may have led to or been impacted by their drug abuse.
Helping Your Child Get Treatment
Few, if any, experiences can prepare a parent for the moment when they discover that their child has been abusing cocaine. If your son or daughter has been engaging in this dangerous behavior, it is likely that your reaction ranged from confusion and disappointment to anger, fear, and frustration. But regardless of how the initial shock of your discovery affected you, the fact that you are reading this page means that you are now focused on what is truly most important: getting your son or daughter the help that he or she needs.
The following steps can help you accomplish that objective:
- If possible, find out the degree of your child’s involvement with cocaine, and determine if he or she is also abusing other drugs. The better you are able to understand the scope of the problem, the more effective you will be in your search for solutions.
- Educate yourself about adolescent substance abuse and addiction, as well as common co-occurring disorders. Your child’s cocaine abuse may be evidence of a substance use disorder, or it may be symptomatic of a different type of mental health condition, such as depression or posttraumatic stress disorder. Again, understanding the problem is essential to finding a solution.
- Talk to experts. Consult with your family doctor, your child’s pediatrician, the school guidance counselor, or anyone else who can serve as a source of reliable information regarding both the problems your child is experiencing and the types of treatment that may be most helpful.
- Identify programs that provide the type and level of care that appear to be best suited to meeting your child’s needs. Review the programs’ websites, talk to staff members on the phone, and arrange for in-person meetings and tours. Find the program that feels like the best fit for your child and your family.
Recovery is a long-term process that will involve both successes and setbacks. Prepare yourself and your child for an extended effort, and leave no doubt that you will be beside him or her every step of the way.
Why Consider Treatment at Youth Care
If not treated, an addiction to cocaine will put a young person on the path to a bleak and desperate existence. Continued cocaine abuse robs individuals of their physical and emotional health, their self-esteem and self-respect, and their hope for the future. Every time a young person abuses cocaine, he or she is exposed to the risk of overdose and death. Those who survive have an increased likelihood of heart damage, respiratory illness, communicable diseases, legal problems (including incarceration), and a host of co-occurring mental health and behavioral issues. Cocaine abuse rarely occurs in a vacuum, and individuals who do not get help for their addiction are unlikely to receive the treatment they need for the co-occurring conditions that either led to or were caused by the substance abuse. As a result, a common outcome is an ever decreasing downward spiral of pain, shame, and desperation.
Types of Treatment Offered at Youth Care
Youth Care provides life-changing residential care in a peaceful, home-like setting for adolescents ages 11 to 17 who are struggling with a wide range of mental health disorders and behavioral problems, including cocaine abuse and addiction. The Youth Care philosophy is based upon honoring the unique strengths and capabilities of the young people who are entrusted into our care and encouraging them to embrace the concepts of accountability, responsibility, and respect while making the changes that will allow them to lead healthier and more productive lives.
Treatment at Youth Care is an intensive and highly personalized experience. During an average week, students receive will receive 20 hours of clinical services that have been integrated into a customized multidisciplinary treatment plan that reflects the needs and strengths that were identified during a thorough assessment and evaluation process.
At Youth Care, we place great emphasis on helping our students recognize the choices they have made, understand the natural consequences that can occur as a result of these choices, develop self-confidence, and conduct themselves in a manner that promotes dignity, respect, and trust. The family-like structure of our program is designed to model and reinforce important life lessons that will support our students’ efforts to establish healthy interpersonal relationships and achieve to their greatest potential in all aspects of their lives.
When a student enters Youth Care for the treatment of cocaine abuse and addiction, his or her personalized treatment plan may feature the following components:
Medication management: If an adolescent’s cocaine dependence is accompanied by certain co-occurring disorders, the inclusion of psychotropic medication in his or her treatment plan may be beneficial. Of course, medications will be prescribed only when clinically appropriate based upon a careful review of the student’s evaluation and the needs that were identified during that evaluation. Youth Care students have the opportunity to participate in weekly meetings with a psychiatrist, and all medication management needs are handled by the psychiatrist and members of our nursing and medical teams.
Individual therapy: Individual therapy is an essential element of the therapeutic process at Youth Care. All of our students have the opportunity to meet with their primary therapists for one-on-one sessions three times each week. Also, students who are dealing with cocaine abuse and addiction concerns can meet with an addictions counselor once each week. These meetings provide a supportive environment in which students can discuss their progress, process successes and setbacks, and address issues that have arisen in the course of their treatment.
Group therapy: Group therapy sessions are conducted on a daily basis at Youth Care. Led by trained professionals, these sessions serve an important role in the therapeutic process by allowing students to share insights, learn from the experiences of others, and practice interacting with adults and peers in a healthy, productive, and respectful manner. Students will have the opportunity to participate in the following types of groups on a regular basis throughout their time at Youth Care:
- Process groups are held 3 times each week.
- Recreational therapy groups are conducted twice each week.
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) groups are conducted once each week.
- Music therapy groups are conducted once each week.
- Addictions groups are conducted once each week.
Family therapy: At Youth Care, we have a deep and abiding appreciation for the value of the family both in the treatment process and in the continued recovery of students who have struggled with cocaine abuse and dependence. Our commitment to promoting healthy family dynamics is reflected in the emphasis we place on incorporating students’ families heavily into the treatment process. Each week, the student’s primary therapist will conduct a family therapy session, and every six to eight weeks we conduct Parent Days, which feature educational seminars, multifamily group therapy, parent support groups, family therapy sessions, and family recreational activities.
Recreational therapy: Students who are being treated for cocaine abuse at Youth Care benefit from an innovative and dynamic approach to residential care that features an array of recreational therapy opportunities. Under the guidance and supervision of our licensed recreational therapist, students participate in in-house and community recreational activities three to seven times per week. Recreational therapy serves as an effective complement to more traditional forms of therapy by engaging students in physical, cultural, and social accomplishments. Participating in recreational therapy provides students with enjoyable and motivational opportunities to work together while developing and honing essential skills, such as teamwork, problem solving, communication, and trust. Recreational therapy also helps students explore newfound interests, discover unknown talents, and improve their sense of self-worth and self-esteem.
Experiential therapy: In addition to the recreational therapies that are discussed in the previous section, the treatment plan for a student who is dealing with cocaine abuse and addiction at Youth Care may also include the following experiential therapies, if the student’s primary therapist determines that participating in such therapies is appropriate and beneficial to the student:
- Situational therapy
- Exposure therapy
- Expressive therapy
Community service activities: All Youth Care students, including those who are receiving treatment for cocaine abuse and addiction, participate in community service activities at least twice each month. These activities help students to develop greater empathy and a broader understanding of others, both of which can be beneficial to their recovery and their continued healthy development. The following are among the types of community service activities that may be featured during a student’s time at Youth Care:
- Filling shelves at the Food Bank
- Caring for animals at the Humane Society
- Visiting the elderly
Academics: A central tenet of the Youth Care treatment philosophy is our commitment to providing each student with the opportunity to achieve academic success. Our fully accredited academic program helps students to maintain and improve upon their academic progress while in treatment, and our students benefit from working with certified secondary education and special education teachers who have been specifically trained to teach and support adolescents who possess a range of learning abilities. Academic objectives are included in all students’ individualized treatment plans, and our services include a full day’s curriculum in a traditional academic setting from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every weekday, with therapeutic interventions being interwoven throughout students’ daily schedules.
In addition to our residential services, Youth Care also offers partial hospitalization programming (PHP) for students who do not require the intensity of the residential experience. This day treatment option allows students to benefit from the same daily programming that is offered to students who are receiving residential treatment, yet gives them the opportunity to return home at the end of each treatment day.
If your child is struggling with cocaine abuse or addiction, and you believe that he or she can benefit from receiving clinically sophisticated care within the confines of a safe, structured, and supportive environment, Youth Care may have the solutions that you have been searching for. With experienced professionals who are dedicated to providing comprehensive services that have been customized to meet your child’s specific needs, Youth Care provides a life-changing opportunity for your son or daughter to overcome the obstacles that have been preventing him or her from living a happy and healthy life and achieving to his or her greatest potential.