Homeless youth need more than drug rehab

Published: May 13, 2008 at 1:23 PM
COLUMBUS, Ohio, May 13 (UPI) — U.S. researchers say getting homeless youth off of alcohol and drugs is hard unless basic needs are met first.
The study, published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, concludes homeless youth — linked to the street subculture — can be brought back into society through education, employment and other activities that strengthen social ties. Those with the most social stability — such as those who attended school more often or those who had a job — were most likely to reduce their homeless days over a six-month period.

While youth who had a history of abuse or mental health problems were more likely to become homeless, those same characteristics didn’t predict teens and young adults getting off the street six months later.

“It looks like the predictors of homelessness might be different than the predictors of exiting homelessness,” lead author Natasha Slesnick of Ohio State University said in a statement. “So that means prevention targets should be different from intervention targets.”

The study, conducted between 2001 and 2005, interviewed 180 homeless youth between ages 14 and 22 at New Mexico drop-in centers.


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