A 24-bed alcohol and drug treatment unit specifically for patients 17 and under has been added to the LifeStarts alcohol and drug abuse program at Centinela Hospital Medical Center. "Our program focuses on working with adolescents to teach them alternative behaviors, other than drugs, for coping with stress, which is a common cause of teen-age addiction," said Dr. Gerald I. Rozansky, founder and medical director of the youth program. He said that in Southern California, more than 30% of the young people between 13 and 18 regularly abuse drugs and alcohol.
The program includes group, individual and family counseling sessions, recreational and physical therapy, lectures, and regular attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings. The yearlong program, which costs $20,000, consists of six weeks of intensive in-patient treatment and ongoing counseling for youths and their families after the hospital stay. "For treatment to be effective, adolescents need to know that family members understand and accept the drug abuse as a reality," said Rozansky.