Treatment Tools

This section will cover information and resources for the Treatment of Co-Existing Problems (CEP) for children and youth. These will include recommended therapeutic guidance, harm reduction and relapse prevention.


Recommended Therapeutic Guidance

A number of individual therapies have shown promising results as interventions in the management of CEP in children and young people. 

These include Motivation Interviewing (MI) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) plus variations such as 'Integrated CBT', mindfulness-based treatments, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and Individual Cognitive Problem Solving. The best evidence has been found for Motivational Interviewing (MI) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

The following are worksheets that can be used in individual treatment sessions with the young people you are working with.

Motivational Interviewing worksheets

The following worksheets provide exercises and worksheets that provide motivational interviewing frameworks and concepts:

Decisional Balance Exercise Worksheet

This exercise aims to build motivation to change substance use (or other behaviour) by reflection and eliciting change talk.

Readiness Rulers Worksheet

Readiness Rulers EXERCISE Worksheet

Visual scales that help assess motivation, by measuring a belief in importance of change and confidence in ability.

Goal Setting Worksheet & more

These worksheets provide SMART goal setting instructions to support a young person plan for and make change.


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Emotional management

CBT Worksheets for interventions

The following worksheets provide seven sessions of relapse prevention to use with youth in regards to making change to substance use.

Mood monitoring Worksheet

Emotions and mood monitoring Worksheet

Visual scales that help assess motivation, by measuring a belief in importance of change and confidence in ability.

Alcohol and Other Drugs Diary Worksheet

A tool that can be helpful to look at the young person's links between their emotions and substance use.


Harm Reduction


Harm Reduction includes a wide range of strategies and information aimed at minimising the harmful effects of substance use on young people's lives.

Young people respond more positively to strategies that recognise and respect their ability to make their own decisions. The following resources provide AOD information, and include some harm reduction strategies for young people to help them keep safe and make positive changes.


Assessing and Managing Harm: Giving the best advice

We have some Harm Reduction advice tips on our SACS ABC desktop quick reference guide, these tips (below) offer some general advice on strategies you can use with young people to encourage positive change. For more targetted tips, see more under the table.

HPA Low risk drinking advice



For children and youth under 18 years old, not drinking alcohol is the safest option. Those under 15 years of age are in particular at the greatest risk of harm from drinking alcohol and not drinking in this age group is especially important.

For young people aged 15 to 17 years, the safest option is to delay drinking for as long as possible. If 15 to 17 year olds do drink alcohol, they should be supervised, drink infrequently and at levels usually below and never exceeding the lower adult daily limits. 

The Health Promotion Agency (HPA) website has a number of interactive tools that can provide more information on the effects of drinking.


See our Youth Info Card on Alcohol for more.





Cannabis has depressant effects (slows down body functions) and also hallucinogenic effects (changes perception).

For harm reduction, we recommend teens to:

  • Start with small amounts to check the strength
  • Avoid using with alcohol and other drugs or medications
  • Stopping if they feel unwell, uncomfortable or nervous
  • Only use occasionally, especially if the young person has mental health problems
  • To seek a quiet safe place, fresh air, water or a sweet drink as well as trusted company if they have a bad reaction 
  • Avoiding while pregnant

You can find more advice and strategies on our Youth Info Cannabis Card.


MDMA / Ecstacy

MDMA is the active ingredient in ecstasy. It is a stimulant that speeds up body functions and can cause feelings of euphoric. It also creates the feeling of being closer to people. It can also cause a rapid heartbeat, overheating and/or dehydration, grinding teeth and decreased appetite. It might also cause anxiousness, paranoia and blurry vision. Afterwords, takers often experience a comedown that can last 1 - 4 days which can include irritability, low mood / anxiety and difficulty concentration.

For harm reduction, we recommend teens to:

  • Encouraging youth to plan their use and their comedown
  • Suggest using less and waiting an hour before deciding to take any more
  • Drinking water regularly and take breaks to cool down if dancing
  • Avoiding mixing with alcohol, medications and other drugs
  • Using in safe environments
  • Using drug checking services
  • Bringing only what you will use
  • Taking a break to let their brain and body recover
  • Avoiding while pregnant

You can find more advice and strategies on our Youth Info MDMA / Ecstasy Card.


Relapse prevention


<Coming soon>