It’s no secret that today’s young people need help. They are growing up in a society that has more drugs easily available to young people than at any other point in history. Most young people in public schools report that drugs are easily available in those schools, and almost all know at least one person that is using drugs and can easily provide them to others.
In this culture of availability and a lack of responsibility from the parents and teachers that should be keeping drugs out of their hands, it’s no surprise that many young people are first experimenting with drugs before even leaving middle school. The number of youths that end up in the juvenile court system is alarming, and almost all of these criminal offenders are also drug users.
Parents and local communities want answers that work. We all need a program that can effectively treat youth drug abuse effectively, and the state of Utah feels that it may have found one.
An Experiment in Getting Teens off Drugs and Keeping them Off
Utah’s Fourth District Juvenile Court decided that their approach to youth offenders wasn’t working. Just putting young people into jail did little to keep these young offenders from getting into trouble again in the future. It’s not really a surprise, as the approach taken toward young people closely matches the approach taken toward adult offenders. Punishing someone by locking him up in a box for months or years does little to keep the person from committing more crimes in the future. In fact, it often can lead to the person committing even more crimes or worse crimes than he committed before.
With this awareness, the Fourth District decided to try the Narconon program delivered by a not-for-profit organization called NewLife. The court randomly selected 100 youth offenders and put them into the program. As many of these youth offenders were using drugs, the court wanted to find whether or not the drug rehabilitation and life skills program could be effective in helping these young people turn their lives around and stay away from drugs and crime in the future.
The youths went through a program of life skills training courses. They learned about vital topics like the ability to communicate and the ability to spot people in your life that want to do you harm and see you fail. By spotting these individuals, youth can stay away from drug pushers and others that want to see them get addicted in the future.
Possibly of even greater importance, the program also had these youths go through a period of detoxification that included time spent in a dry-heat sauna. One of the reasons that drug users get addicted and continue to use drugs is because they have trace residues of drugs in their bodies even months or years after they stopped actively using. These residues can re-activate later and cause the person to want to use drugs again. By going through this sauna program, the youth offenders were able to detoxify their bodies of these poisonous drug residues.
The Results of the Program
When the Fourth District examined the results of the application of the Narconon program, they were astounded. They found that a jaw-dropping 63.5% of the youths that completed the program were completely free of misdemeanors and felonies later in their lives. This was a 100% reduction in crime for these young people. Other program participants that still committed crimes in the future were found to have committed fewer crimes, and there were even improvements in the participants that were taken out of the program by the court system before they could complete it.
The results were clear: all youth offenders across the country could benefit by being able to participate in the Narconon program.