Evaluation of drug use treatment for youth

Evaluation of the projects: ‘Implementation of treatment models for youth in substance use treatment’ and A pre-treatment program called ‘Project Different Ways’ (PDW)


The aim of the project is to evaluate the efficacy and implementation of three evidence based and promising models for youth substance use treatment, in order to enhance the quality of treatments offered by ensuring, that youth who have problems with substance use receive goal-oriented and holistic treatment.


The Treatment models that are being evaluated are: U-Turn, U18 and PDW.
U-Turn, originally a project under the municipality of Copenhagen, is a holistic approach to substance use treatment that involves the systems and networks of the youth. According to this model, change occurs by creating positive changes in the school or family environment of the youth, while the counsellor works therapeutically with the mental and physical well-being of the youth.  U-Turn offers open and anonymous counselling, individual treatment courses, group therapy, and group therapy for parents and uses a cognitive behavioral approach to therapy.

U18 is also a holistic approach to substance use treatment. In U18, problematic substance use is regarded as a symptom of other problems in the lives of the youth and they therefore work holistically by involving parents and other important individuals of the youth’s network. U18 is a semi-structured treatment course that always begins with at least one anonymous information and counselling session before inscribing the youth in an individually planed treatment course. U18 utilises several therapeutic approaches (cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, mentalisationbased therapy and systemic therapy) and offers counselling/expanded counselling, psychological screening, individual treatment, group treatment and group treatment for parents. 

PDW ’Project different ways” is a pre-treatment program for youth with substance use problems who are placed in institutional care. The program aims at motivating the youth to enter treatment after they become of legal age and transition to live on their own.

The study (evaluation)

Several municipal community treatment centres and 24-hour day care institutions participate in the project. They all receive training and support during the implementation process. The evaluation focus on:

Implementation of substance use treatment models:

  • Evaluation of the level of implementation of the core elements of the two models (U-Turn and U-18).
  • Evaluation of the effect of the treatment models on youth substance use and well-being, among other outcomes.

PDW evaluation:

  • Have the institutions been able to build a bridge to substance use treatment centers during the youth’s transition from living in the institution to living independently?

The Evaluation began January 2017 and will be concluded by the end of 2019.


The Evaluation is funded by the Danish National Board of Health and Welfare.


Implementation of treatment models: 
U18 – The Municipality of Aarhus
U-Turn – The Municipality of Copenhagen 
Participating municipal community treatment centers: Ballerup, Hedensted, Fredericia, Herlev, Slagelse, Frederiksberg, Thisted, Gladsaxe, Syddjurs Kommune og Favrskov Kommune.

PDW Evalution:
Type2Dialog (aids municipalities, boards and professional institutions in completing the implementation proces)
Ca. 45 different Danish Youth care institutions