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Press Release: New State-of-the-Art Treatment for Teens with Substance Use Problems

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Burlington, VT—Spectrum Youth and Family Services and Dartmouth College’s Medical School have teamed up to offer a new innovative, outpatient treatment research program for teens and their families struggling with problems related to substance use.

The Teen Intervention Program for Substance Use (TIPS) program combines weekly, individual motivational and behavioral coping skills counseling and a motivational incentive program that involves earning rewards for getting and staying abstinent.

“Spectrum was selected to partner with Dartmouth because of their superior leadership and active use of the most effective treatment strategies available,’’ said Dr. Alan Budney, Co-Director of the Dartmouth Addiction Treatment and Research Program.

“Spectrum and their clinical leader, Annie Ramniceanu, are unique in their enthusiasm for embracing opportunities to modify their programs when new information about more potent options becomes available. It is very difficult to change substance use patterns and behavior. So we always look to clinical science to guide our ideas, and Spectrum leadership thinks the same way.”

In the TIPS program, parents or guardians also meet weekly with the counselor to develop and manage a reward and consequence plan for the home that can motivate abstinence from substance use. These types of interventions can increase the probability that teens can be successful in stopping marijuana and other substance use compared to usual programs offered in community settings.

In addition, this research program is designed to test whether or not a computerized program can further increase the chances that teens in treatment can get and stay clean from all substances.

“The hope is that their thinking ability will improve, which will help them make better decisions when faced with risky situations, and may even help with school performance,” said Ramniceanu, Spectrum’s deputy director.

The program is funded by a research grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which was awarded to Drs. Alan Budney and Catherine Stanger, faculty members at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. They have spent the last 15 years continuously working on science-based ways to improve substance abuse treatment outcomes so that teens and their families have a better chance of success when seeking help.

Download the full press release here.

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