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Subst Use Misuse. 2005;40(7):913-33.

CASASTART: a community-based, school-centered intervention for high-risk youth.

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  • 1The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, New York, New York 10017-6706, USA.


During the past decade, increasing numbers of drug- and alcohol-related delinquency cases have entered the juvenile justice system. The majority of these young people face multiple challenges and risks, yet have few resources to mitigate these risks. This article suggests that the skills, competencies and supports, and protective factors needed to help young people grow into healthy adulthood are not readily available to high-risk youth. We offer lessons from the development, implementation, and institutionalization of one promising model of an evidence-based, community-, and school-centered program for high-risk youth (CASASTART). The experience with this program thus far suggests that program models that encompass a youth development, strength-based, and community-focused approach can intervene successfully with many high-risk youth and their families, reduce use of drugs and alcohol, reduce violent crime, and achieve funding and programmatic stability.

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