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Substance Abuse Unit


The Dallas County Juvenile Department Substance Abuse Unit provides effective and compassionate education and treatment modalities to assist youth and their families establish a lifestyle free from alcohol and drug use. Our goal is to assist through education, counseling and supporting those individuals that find themselves struggling to reach and maintain sobriety. Since 1990, the SAU has assisted thousands of youth and their families in the Dallas Metroplex. The Substance Abuse Unit continues services to youth graduating from the Residential Drug Treatment program as well as youth court ordered to receive drug treatment. The Substance Abuse Unit offers individual, group and family counseling to families with a substance abusing teenager.

Services include:

  • Assessment: Structured interviews with the youth and available family to determine if drug treatment or other services are needed.
  • Intervention Program: Drug education and intervention services to youth assessed as needing less than substance abuse treatment, but more than just education about substance abuse. This level provides family participation and drug testing.
  • Supportive Outpatient Counseling: This includes individual and family therapy sessions in the homes of clients and multi-family group sessions at the offices of the Substance Abuse Unit.
  • Day Treatment: Youth in this program receive 6 hours of academic education a day, GED preparation; testing and at least 15 hours of therapeutic services per week. This includes individual, group and multi-family therapy.
  • Community Education: Counselors and staff conduct presentations in schools, community forums, and other educational venues about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
  • Practicum Training: The unit serves as a clinical training institute for counselors pursuing a career as social workers and Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselors (LCDC). Interns from various community colleges and universities take advantage of our intern/practicum program which is supervised by licensed counselors. We also offer training and education to counselors in the community who are interested in continuing their education in the Substance Abuse Field.