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Drug use and barriers to and facilitators of drug treatment for homeless youth.

  • Author(s): Nyamathi, Adeline
  • Hudson, Angela
  • Mutere, Malaika
  • Christiani, Ashley
  • Sweat, Jeff
  • Nyamathi, Kamala
  • Broms, Theresa
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license
Abstract

In the United States, homeless youth are becoming increasingly entrenched in problem substance use, including high prevalence of alcohol abuse and injection use. A total of 54 substance-using homeless youth (18-25 years) participated in focus groups in order to provide their perspectives on barriers to and facilitators of seeking treatment. Participants were recruited from shelters in Hollywood, CA, and from a street-based, drop-in site in Santa Monica, CA. Participants identified personal barriers to treatment, but reported that facilitators of treatment tended to be more systematic. Homeless youth used and abused substances to dim the psychological effects of living on the streets. They appreciated programs that facilitated treatment and rehabilitation such as mentoring, support groups, and alternative choices to substance use. Implications point to the need for further development and research on culturally-appropriate, age-sensitive programs for homeless youth. The experiences of these youth underscore the need for strategic interventions.

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