STOP SHORT of Addiction works with youth to stop patterns of behavior from escalating into drug addiction and chronic criminal behavior. An example of this can be seen by a current statement made by a 15 year old male after completing the program. He was referred by the Santa Ana Police Department for being under (read more)
STOP SHORT of Addiction (English and Spanish) - Overview
Developed in 1999 in response to the increasing rates of youth substance use and crime in Orange County, STOP SHORT of Addiction provides intensive, state-certified substance abuse services to youth drug offenders or drug users. Based on our successful SHORTSTOP model, STOP SHORT of Addiction provides an alternative to incarceration that includes group substance abuse treatment, intensive legal education, and an individualized restorative justice plan.
Bilingual, bicultural therapists administer the program with assistance from trained legal experts, the Sheriff’s Coroner, and local law enforcement narcotics officers. Guest speakers are provided by the Youth Guidance Center and Volunteers on Parole. Program services are offered in both English and Spanish, and provide youth and their families with:
- Clinical Intake (1 hour)
Through the clinical intake assessment, valuable information is gathered about the youth’s drug history, emotional stability, at risk behaviors, family dynamics and school functioning.
- Substance Abuse Treatment Sessions (12 hours)
Three program sessions provide legal education, critical information in respect to parent’s legal rights/responsibilities and juvenile laws, healthy communication and coping skills to help maintain a drug-free lifestyle, group therapy sessions, and educational materials on drug and alcohol use.
Highlights include visiting an actual courtroom where incarcerated minors discuss how delinquent behavior and drug use led them to criminal activity and incarceration, a presentation from the county coroner illustrating the biological and psychological effects of drug abuse and addiction, and a panel of recovered teens that discuss making the choice to stay drug free. To encourage accountability, an individualized restorative justice plan is also developed for each youth (including financial restitution, victim apology letters, and community service hours).
- Exit Plan: If needed, case management and referral services are available to link youth and families to additional substance abuse treatment and behavioral health services.
External evaluations have proven that STOP SHORT of Addiction makes a measurable difference in the lives of the youth we serve. Formal recidivism studies conducted by the Orange County Probation Department show that 82% of our youth are successfully diverted from the legal system for at least a year. In addition:
- 95% of youth participants remain drug free at least six months after program completion
- 89% of parents report increased knowledge of drugs and addiction
- 93% of youth report being more aware of the dangers of drug use
- 85% of youth report having changed their relationships with drug/alcohol using friends
In 2004, the Orange County Bar Foundation expanded STOP SHORT of Addiction to include culturally competent Spanish-language services. These services provide up to 12 weeks of Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT), as needed, and as resources allow. BSFT is an evidence-based treatment model, developed by the Center for Family Studies at the University of Miami. BSFT provides counseling services that have been proven effective in treating early drug use, dysfunctional family relationships, conduct problems, and associations with antisocial peers, all of which are recognized risk factors for drug addiction. Outcomes include:
- Children: improved self-concept; reduced conduct and emotional problems
- Adolescents: reduced drug use, conduct problems, and antisocial peer relationships
- Families: improved family functioning
Recidivism studies of juveniles who participated in the Orange County Bar Foundation’s diversion programs (SHORTSTOP, Programa SHORTSTOP, and STOP SHORT of Addiction – English and Spanish versions) prove that the programs work to keep youth from further involvement in the criminal justice system. The basis for these studies is to determine if the youth we serve are referred to probation for a new law violation within a year of completing our programs.
Tracking approximately 961 youth for a year, results from a 2012-2014 Recidivism Study showed that youth who pass OCBF diversion programs are less likely to have a referral to probation in the year following their program completion than youth who fail the program. One-year referral rates for these program completers averaged 7%. By contrast, the one-year referral rates for the program failures averaged over 25%.
These results continue to underscore OCBF’s positive outcomes with the at-risk youth who successfully complete OCBF’s early intervention programs.