Sexually exploited youth will often present with substance misuse issues. Although both non-exploited and sexually exploited youth report using alcohol and marijuana, sexually exploited street-involved youth are more likely than non-exploited to have ever used heroin or other injection drugs. Exploited youth were also more likely than those not exploited to have ever used cocaine, hallucinogens, and amphetamines (including crystal meth). (Saewyc et al., 2006).
Information for Professionals:
The most important thing for professionals to be aware of, is that substance misuse is rarely, if ever, the problem impacting these youth; rather, it is a symptom of more complicated and complex issues.
When working with a youth affected by substance misuse difficulties, the best approach is to be non-judgmental, empathic, curious, and supportive.
For a range of information on substance abuse and youth, please visit IMPACT at: