Substance Use Treatment Services

Substance use treatment services are available in all DJJ facilities. In short term settings such as regional youth detention centers (RYDCs), substance use intervention services are provided by RYDC Program staff for those youth who have identified substance use treatment needs. 

In youth development campuses (YDCs), youth with acute or serious substance use treatment needs may receive substance use treatment in a designated living unit that utilizes a therapeutic community, the residential substance use treatment units (RSUT), which are located at three YDC campuses. Those youth whose needs are less severe or who have barriers to living on an RSUT unit receive substance use treatment services through weekly group sessions regardless of their housing assignment. This treatment is available at all YDCs. Youth who receive these treatment services are provided with The Seven Challenges treatment curriculum, which is designed specifically for adolescents with drug problems, to motivate a decision and commitment to change and to support success in implementing the desired changes. The Seven Challenges program simultaneously helps young people address their drug problems as well as their co-occurring life skill deficits, situational problems, and psychological problems.



The Seven Challenges is a comprehensive counseling program for young people that incorporates work on alcohol and other drug problems. It is designed to motivate youth to evaluate their lives, consider changes they may wish to make, and then succeed in implementing the desired changes. It supports them in taking power over their own lives.

In The Seven Challenges, young people address their drug problems, their co-occurring life skill deficits, and their situational and psychological problems. Although counselors in the program provide a structure for groups and a framework for individual sessions, the content of each session is exceptionally flexible, in response to the immediate needs of youth. It is not pre-scripted. 

The Seven Challenges

Challenging ourselves to make wise decisions about alcohol and other drugs

  1. We decided to open up and talk honestly about ourselves and about alcohol and other drugs.

  2. We looked at what we liked about alcohol and other drugs, and why we were using them.

  3. We looked at our use of alcohol and other drugs to see if it had caused harm, or could cause harm.

  4. We looked at our responsibility of others for our problems.

  5. We thought about where we seemed to be headed, where we wanted to go, and what we wanted to accomplish.

  6. We made thoughtful decisions about our lives and about our use of alcohol and other drugs.

  7. We followed through on our decisions about our lives and drug use.  If we saw problems, we went back to earlier challenges and mastered them.



To learn more about The Seven Challenges, visit them on the web at