Today, only 10 percent of public dollars spent on addiction treatment goes to adolescents even though 90 percent of alcohol/drug use and abuse starts between the ages of 12 and 20. Unfortunately, only one in 17 adolescent addicts and only one in 22 young adults will ever receive treatment for their disease.
But a life of active recovery is achievable for young people when they have access to the right support systems they need to succeed. Studies show that after one to three years of abstinence, two-thirds stay sober the following year. After four years of abstinence, nearly 90% stay sober the following year. Clearly, the odds are tipped greatly in favor of long-term, sustained recovery for young people who can reach the four-year mark.
How can we help more young people launch a life of sustained and active recovery? By listening to those who have already done so—our YPR leaders. For the first time, we have a generation of young people who got sober in their teens and 20s who do not wish to remain anonymous about their personal stories but rather want to leverage their experiences and spread their successes to others by replicating the support programs that keep them in recovery. And what YPRs tell us is that young people are more successful in sustaining their sobriety when recovery is completely integrated into all aspects of their lives: housing, school, social lives, and beyond.
For these reasons, we focus the work of the National Youth Recovery Foundation and Young People in Recovery membership chapters in four areas: improving access to addiction treatment and aftercare; supporting young people in recovery as they continue and complete their educations; assist them as they create sober social and career networks; and advocating for the public policy changes they need to eliminate barriers to long-term, sustained recovery.