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Exploring Mental Health and Substance use Treatment Needs of Commercially Sexually Exploited Youth Participating in a Specialty Juvenile Court.

Cook MC, Barnert E, Ijadi-Maghsoodi R, Ports K, Bath E. Exploring Mental Health and Substance use Treatment Needs of Commercially Sexually Exploited Youth Participating in a Specialty Juvenile Court. Behavioral Medicine (Washington, D.C.). 2018 Jul 1; 44(3):242-249.

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Abstract:

The study sought to: (1) describe the mental health and substance use profiles among participants of a specialty trafficking court program (the Succeed Though Achievement and Resilience Court); (2) describe youths' mental health and substance use treatment prior to participating in the program; and (3) examine whether abuse influences report of mental health problems and/or substance use. Retrospective case review of court files was performed on commercially sexually exploited youth who volunteered to participate in the court from 2012 to 2014 (N = 184). All participants were female. Mental health problems and report of substance use was high among this population. Substance use differed at statistically significant levels between youth with a documented abuse history compared to those with no abuse history. Substance use also differed by report of mental health problems. Unexpected findings included the high rate of hospitalization for mental health problems and relatively low substance use treatment prior to STAR Court participation. Opportunities for improvement in critical points of contact to identify commercially sexually exploited youth and address their health needs are discussed.





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