Skip to main content

Juvenile Arrests and Teen Treatment Centers


teenager in handcuffs

Research findings suggest a clear correlation between substance abuse and teen criminality. According to Child Crime Prevention & Safety Center “80% of minors in state juvenile justice systems were under the influence of drugs or alcohol when committing their crimes, test positive for drugs, were arrested for committing an alcohol or drug offense, admitted to having substance abuse or addiction problems, or shared some combinations of these characteristics.” Child Crime Prevention & Safety Center further denotes that of the approximate 1.9 to 2.4 million minors in the juvenile justice system that have substance abuse or addiction issues a mere 68,000 receive treatment. As the stigma surrounding addiction and mental health illness dissipates in America, juvenile courts are finally beginning to recognize the role that addiction plays in juvenile arrests. The sentencing options for convicted minors have widened and when available and appropriate they may include providing treatment options as a component of one’s sentence.  


The customary verdict for minors found guilty of serious juvenile offenses was being sent to locked juvenile detention facilities, regardless of one’s struggle with substance abuse and/ or addiction. There they would not receive any treatment for substance abuse while in custody. It seems rather counter-intuitive, as young people that were intoxicated while committing crimes, and/ or struggled with addiction were not provided with any rehabilitative services to treat perhaps the underlying cause of their discretions (e.g. addiction) and were further held in a space without any support to navigate this mental health illness. More recently, the juvenile delinquency courts have turned to different options to deal with youth offenders, specifically for minors diagnosed with addiction and for whom substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment would be appropriate. 

Every young person is different, and of course learning the notion that actions have consequences is fundamental to one’s adolescence, but not all delinquent teens deserve the same punishment. The purpose of separating youth from adults and trying them accordingly is due to the fact that juveniles are not yet grown. They are operating with age-appropriately developed brains, which will not reach full maturation until age twenty-five, at the earliest. A juvenile court conviction is intended to not only reinforce comprehending the weight of one’s own actions, but also to afford the teen with an opportunity to learn from his or her transgressions. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH) asserts: “Effective adolescent treatment approaches include multi systemic therapy, multidimensional family therapy, and functional family therapy.” Integrating these interventions has shown positive outcomes in strengthening families, decreasing juvenile substance abuse and delinquent behavior. Residential teen treatment centers that specialize in working with delinquent youth are abundantly equipped to effectively treat and provide post-release rehabilitative services to juvenile offenders. 

For Information and Support

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know is in need of mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person for the long term. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Our admissions team is available to answer any general questions regarding mental health issues, treatment, and/or specific questions about the program at Pacific Teen Treatment and how we might be able to help your family. We can be reached by phone 24/7 at 800-531-5769. You can also contact us via email at

Close Menu
Back to top