Youth drug abuse treatment project (YouthDAT project)

A study of four different treatments for substance use disorder (SUD) in young people


The YouthDAT project investigates which approaches work best when treating young people (aged 15-25) for SUD comparing four different treatments in 9 different municipalities. The purpose of the project is to strengthen the methodical and systematic approach in the independent municipal treatment centres and to facilitate the use of evidence-based treatment approaches. The primary aims of the proposed research are to:

  1. Compare the efficacy of four treatment modalities in the treatment of youth with Substance use disorder (SUD)
  2. How the different treatment modalities are received, put into practice and conducted by the counsellors and youth
  3. A cost-effectiveness analysis concerning the efficacy of the four treatment modalities related to the costs


The then Ministry for Integration and Social Affairs launched with the so-called ’Stofmisbrugspakke’ in 2012, a number of projects focusing on drug use and drug treatment for young people. The YouthDAT project is one of ten projects, which contribute to strengthen the quality of the drug treatment.

The Study

460 young people entering drug treatment are participating in the study and are randomly allocated to one of four treatment groups. All participants in all groups are asked to complete a questionnaire (Ungmap), before they start treatment, in order to define and work on specific goals for their treatment and for the counsellors treating them to identify their potential strengths and risk factors that may hinder the participants from completing their treatment.

All participants in the treatment groups are offered 12 sessions and receive cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) once a week in combination with motivational interviews (MI).

The four treatment modalities vary according to length of treatment, use of vouchers and also offering encouragement and reminders between sessions. Participants in the fourth group also get the same vouchers as those in the second group whenever they attend a session.

Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research are conducting interviews with the participants 3, 6, 9 and 21 months after enrollment.

The project started in 2014 and will finish in 2019.


The YouthDAT project is funded by the National Board of Social Services. Collaborations Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research, Aarhus University and the nine municipalities: Fredericia, Herning, Holbæk, Odense, Randers, Silkeborg, Svendborg, Aabenraa, Aarhus. 

Report: Behandling af unge der misbruger stoffer

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