Youth Substance Abuse Intervention and Planned Behavior


About twenty-five million youths in the U.S. abuse drugs and chemical substances. This aspect leads to immeasurable social and health problems within the American communities. Many individuals, especially those coming from unstable families, exhibit stressful lives that expose them to drug and substance abuse. Such a category of teenagers abuse drugs to acquire relief from the trauma experienced early on in life. Pain management is also a major contributor to drug and substance abuse among Americans. Most teenagers languishing in the drug and substance use problem do not realize their concerns makes it necessary for the community to chip in and offer aid. Addiction is often a learned problem, and people can, therefore, learn to quit the harmful practice. The use of drugs among the youths has been on the rise, making society suffer significantly. The purpose of the present work is, thus, to apply the theory of Planned Behavior as an intervention for the many young individuals suffering from substance addiction in Montpelier city, Vermont.


Drug and Substance Abuse in the U.S.

Drug and substance abuse is a real problem among American youths. About seventy percent of the school-going children in the U.S. abuse drugs and alcohol (Sabina et al., 2017). Sabina and her colleagues further note that roughly thirty percent of American college and high school students are chronic users of drugs like cocaine, heroin, and alcohol. Other highly abused substances by American teens include marijuana, painkillers, stimulants, tobacco, and MDMA. The National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics (2019) reports that the number of minors losing life because of drug and substance overdose in the U.S. has continued to rise since 1999 to date. Alcohol, cocaine, heroin, and opioids are some of the leading causes of death among drug-abusing youngsters in the nation. The desire to avoid real-life hardship is a significant contributor to the issue of drug and substance abuse among adolescents. Teenagers exhibiting addictive behaviors find it hard to complete school. Therefore, the lot drops out of school often, causing a secondary social problem in the U.S. and contributing to the continuation of the dangerous cycle.

Drug and Substance Abuse in Vermont

The state of Vermont is one of the areas experiencing escalated cases of drug and substance abuse in the younger demographic. The state exhibits the highest number of alcohol and drug abuse rates among youths in the entire U.S., according to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics (2019) report. About seventy percent of the school-going teenagers in Vermont abuse alcohol and other hard drugs (National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, 2019). The issue affects multiple aspects of society and needs an effective and long-term solution. Government interventions in the area seem to fail because of challenges related to management and resources availability. The failure to understand the unique needs of different teenagers in the area also makes it hard for the many intervention measures implemented by the government and other non-profit groups to work. Adopting and attaching the intervention towards drug and substance abuse to an effective theory promises to deliver reliable results, as posited by Tai et al. (2021). That is why the present work purposes to employ the approach of planned behavior to establish a reliable intervention that offers steadfast and life-long aid to the youths struggling with the problem.

Benefits of Managing Drug and Substance Abuse in the U.S. and Vermont

A majority of the issues affecting youths in the U.S. can be managed by controlling the problem of drug abuse. For example, Armenta et al. (2016) suggest that managing alcoholism among minors stands to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies by about forty percent. Additionally, the source reports that almost fifty percent of HIV/AIDS infections among youths in the U.S. can be linked to drug and substance abuse. Other issues, like sexually transmitted diseases’ prevalent among American minors, also can get a cure through the management of drug abuse within the age group. The control promises to reduce car crashes, crimes, physical fights, domestic wars, suicide, and child abuse cases (Armenta et al., 2016). Montpelier Recovery Village (MRV) is located in the capital of Vermont State. The organization aims to make the state of Vermont a safe community by helping youths quit drug and substance abuse. MRV also purposes to extend its intervention services around the U.S. with time.


Applying appropriate theories can aid in understanding and resolving the issues of drug and substance abuse among the youth in the U.S., particularly in Montpelier city. The idea of planned behavior, also known as TPB, is one of the most appropriate behavioral philosophies that administrators and change leaders can use to address the present challenge. TPB is a cognitive model advanced by Azjen in 1985. The philosophy argues that humans’ judgments to commit specific actions or engage in particular behaviors are predictable through their intentions or desires towards that specific thing (Armenta et al., 2016). Armenta et al. refer to intentions as the inner motivation that drives peoples’ behavior. Purposes also serve as the primary influencers of individuals’ behaviors in that they determine how hard or committed one is involved in trying a new thing or behavior. As such, one’s intentions determine the amount of effort someone is willing to put into something (Stanley et al., 2017). The more resilient the choices that one exhibits the employ a given behavior, the more the likelihood to succeed in the same.

There are at least three variables that determine an individual’s intentions, according to TPB. Such variables include the individual’s attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived ability to control behavior (Stanley et al., 2017). Personal perspectives stand for the individual outlook towards a given idea or thing. The attitude develops from a person’s holistic knowledge, feelings, and prejudices. An attitude can be positive or negative, based on how someone perceives a matter, like a given behavior. For example, many people, especially youths, take alcohol or smoke cigarettes because they attribute the behavior to relaxation. The feeling makes the group assume other effects of tobacco, such as coughing in the morning, having a foul odor, and spending lots of money to acquire the products. Therefore, the attitude towards such substances allows the individual to continue abusing alcohol and smokes, irrespective of the underlying negativities, even when one understands their existence.

On the other hand, subjective norms touch on an individual’s view of other people’s ideas concerning a given behavior or thing. The attitude or feelings of a family or friends concerning a practice or conduct constitute per excellent a subjective norm. Nonetheless, the personal norm facet never looks at other people’s thinking or perceptions. Instead, the element of TPB regards an individual’s perception of other people’s attitudes (Fleming & Borrego, 2019). The perceived behavioral control variable further follows the degree to which individuals believe they can regulate their behaviors. TPB poses that people often tend to depend on their capacities, as well as other external influences like material wealth, to determine the kind of behavior to have.

TPB argues that people’s views regarding their ability to control specific behaviors lead to at least two effects. The statement, for example, impacts an individual’s intent to behave in a given way. As such, the more control that one thinks they have over behavior, the sturdier the intention to perform the same (behavior) (Armenta et al., 2016). Moreover, a person’s view also impacts their behaviors directly, according to TPB. If a person perceives that they have a high degree of control, they will put more effort into succeeding on the specific goal. Sensing to have the power to manage something promotes the self-efficacy concept in an individual, which further improves the feeling that one can handle something even better.

The understanding that people’s decisions to engage in given behaviors come from several aspects allows TPB to have application in a few lines. The theory, for example, finds excellent use in behavioral coaching and anti-drug crusades. Parties using the approach to fight alcoholism often provide youths or the targeted groups with real data concerning the issue or behavior at hand to provoke a change in subjective norm (Stanley et al., 2017). Providing data concerning the real effects of alcohol to a group of youths who drink because their peers do too helps in changing the individual’s thinking that drinking alcohol is a positive norm. The actual data will, for instance, allow the youths succumbing to peer pressure to realize that a large number of teens elsewhere do not take alcohol, and they still live happily. The accurate statistics, thus, give the affected population the actual extent of alcohol consumption. Therefore, it creates an appropriate ground for the group to question the pressure from peers. Consequently, the point that many drug addicts exhibit the desire or struggle to quit the negative behavior makes TPB the theory of choice to change the world.


MRV is the new (community-based) organization seeking to help youths from Montpelier city and entire Vermont. The intervention program takes six months to change an addict’s perspective and initiate behavior change.

Intervention Timeline
Figure 1. Intervention Timeline

The process adopts a six-month timeline (Figure 1) to create a truly meaningful change. MRV has its head office in Montpelier and plans to establish several other branches within the state. MRV is highly concerned that the state of Vermont leads the other states on the issue of drug abuse among youths, according to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics (2019) report. Therefore, the organization is out to employ practical philosophical concepts that will help teens in the area maintain sobriety and become productive persons.

MRV applies the concepts of ‘Theory of Planned Behavior’ to handle the problem at hand. The theory informs at least two of the organization’s primary goals. Utilizing TPB allows MRV to learn about specific individuals’ potential to abuse drugs and the reason behind drugs consumption for the many adolescents using such substances. Each of the six months of the intervention involves a unique process. The first four months of the intervention timeline involve helping the youths to realize the erroneous perspectives that inform their wrong decisions to abuse drugs. Youngsters also learn the actual facts concerning mistaken viewpoints and correct such with the right thoughts and reasoning. The learning then helps in acquiring the right interests, which promote the adoption of the proper behavior, as illustrated in Figure 2.

MRV works with former addicts who went to the extreme of drug abuse to inform the youths about the real danger of the behavior. The reformed addicts offer real examples of individuals with deep pain and regrets for once holding a mistaken view regarding a specific drug or substance. MRV allows youths involved in drug abuse to hear stories of how an addict dropped out of school, contracted a terminal illness, lost the family, job, friends, and almost died due to alcohol and drugs addiction. The reformed fellows thus serve as real victors and role models for the many teenagers willing to overcome addictions but lacking the willpower to turn their feelings into action. MRV, thus, enables the suffering individuals to access mentors who can assist them through the transformation process towards a good life.

MRV also offers therapeutic interventions to those requiring such to quit drug abuse. The organization has a team of experienced medics and rehabilitators who work diligently to ensure that the acquired youths turn back to sobriety. Young adults lacking jobs also get aid on how to secure some reliable sources of income to manage life. The intervention aims to help people overcome finance-related stresses and depression that often send them to drug abuse. MRV is in the process of establishing a state-wide agribusiness project for the youths experiencing anti-drug abuse services at the organization. The project aims to work like the prison gardens that help convicts serve long incarceration terms to learn patience and persistence skills.

Both patience and persistence are critical in almost all individuals struggling with a behavior change, from negative to positive conduct. Fleming and Borrego (2019) argue that learning patience and persistence helps drug addicts to persevere in the shift of intentions and behavior, which promote the general transformation into a productive being. Furthermore, MRV’s agribusiness project teaches those suffering from addiction the necessary skills to strive for independence once outside the organization. Such a goal aims to ensure that ‘graduates’ from the organization can lead a responsible life that allows them to contribute positively to the community by having a stable income, jobs, and families. It is also MRV’s wish to start offering grants to graduating drug addicts to initiate meaningful commercially viable activities as changed people. The financial aid, coupled with the various skills and knowledge that the addicts get during the rehabilitation process at MRV, allows the organization to produce responsible and productive fellows fit for the world.

Notwithstanding, MRV understands the need for sustainability in its operations. The organization aims at operating independently by generating its revenues to finance its operations. That is why the state-wide agribusiness project is a major aspect of the entity. MRV gets much of its motivation because positive behavior can be learned in the same way a negative trait is known. The organization takes considerable pride in the many youths it assists in realizing sobriety and becoming productive. Seeing families reunite with their ‘once dead’ fellows melts the organization’s heart. The entity thrives on the many tears of joy that families and friends shed every time they come for their beloved members who now live independent of drugs and substances. MRV continues to partner with governmental and non-governmental agencies around the U.S. to continue bringing positive change.

Intervention Structure
Figure 2: Intervention Structure


Montpelier Recovery Village focuses on inducing real impact among the youths in Vermont and the entire U.S. The organization’s aim is to stand out as the rehabilitation center of choice for the many Americans seeking to have their lives repaired completely. Realizing the objectives of MRV is not an easy task. The organization, therefore, appreciates the need to measure its effectiveness and adopt continuous improvement strategies to realize its goals even better. The entity, thus, undertakes an evaluation of its processes, impact, and outcomes to be sure of its effectiveness. The discussion below offers a description of each of the three parameters of assessment.


MRV adopts its operations tactics from the medical field, where evidence-based practices and innovation form the basis of all activities. The various processes involved in the rehabilitation endeavor start with the identification of the specific youths requiring aid from drug addiction and dependence. MRV depends significantly on the community members and policing establishments on the aspect of getting such youths. The organization is even open for those intending to take themselves to rehabilitation to do so. Like any other standard organization, MRV involves several processes that need coordination for effective operations. Effective resources management is also crucial for MRV to realize its goals. That is why the organization operates Oracle’s corporate resources planning software to ensure lean operations. MRV’s primary purpose is to facilitate rapid restoration of individuals’ sobriety and independence from drug abuse and dependence. The organization receives youths from Vermont State and other areas of the U.S. and exposes them to the rehabilitation process.

As such, MRV utilizes the concepts of the TPB philosophy to understand and induce a change in personal perspectives. TPB maintains that many drug addicts struggle with the problem because of exhibiting an erroneous attitude about drugs and their role in life. Consequently, appreciating youths’ intentions regarding narcotics and substance abuse serves as a great way of helping them to change. MRV uses former drug addicts who experienced severe consequences to educate the youths under rehabilitation on the need to establish real intentions that purpose to realize a positive change. Learning about individuals who exhibited a similar or even worse problem with drugs is meant to provoke the struggling youths’ desire to and efforts to change. Examples of questions asked to ensure process effectiveness include:

  1. How effective is the use of reformed addicts’ accounts to induce a change in subjective norms among the youths under rehabilitation?
  2. Does the application of evidence-based practices at MRV make the rehabilitation process more effective relative to the other facilities in the state?
  3. Does the use of agribusiness projects around the state offer the rehabilitation center the sustainability it requires?
  4. Do the grants offered to the rehabilitation graduates impact their lives as intended?
  5. Does the use of digital information management systems promote efficiency and service reliability?


The purpose of MRV is to reduce drug addiction and dependence rates around the Vermont state to levels that are below the state average. Currently, the state is the leading state on drug and substance abuse and dependence around the U.S., as per the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics’ (2019) report. One of MRV’s strategic plans is to help the city of Montpelier and the entire state of Vermont to register reduced numbers of drug abuse among youths and teenagers. MRV, thus, operates as a non-profit entity to benefit as many youths as possible. This aspect allows the organization always to register high numbers of teens receiving rehabilitative care and those graduating from the organization.

MRV plans to aid at least half a million young adults to adopt a new way of life and quit addiction and substance dependence each year. It is the wish of MRV to have every person entering the organization as someone requiring rehabilitation to graduate within the specified duration. The organization purposes to utilize a collection of interventions to foster rapid recovery and withdrawal from substance dependence and drug addiction. Ensuring that every teenager entering the institution completes their six months’ correction coaching successfully registers significant strides towards the realization of this goal. As such, the following questions inform MRV’s evaluation of its interventions’ impact on the community.

  1. What is the frequency of youths’ successful completion of the MRV rehabilitation services?
  2. Is the same number of youths registering for the behavioral correction coaching the same as the number graduating at the end of each session?
  3. Are MRV’s operations impacting the numbers of registered cases of drug addiction and dependence among the youth in Vermont State?
  4. Is the use of a garden system enabling drug addiction reformists to learn patience and persistence as intended?


MRV utilizes a wide range of tactics to measure its outcomes’ effectiveness within the Vermont community. Such methods include questionnaires, observation, and interviews. Questionnaires are filled by both the staff and youths receiving the services at the facility. The questionnaires endeavor to collect the served youths’ level of satisfaction, as well as the staffs’ ease of applying the various intervention tactics on each individual youth, as well as the degree of response from the youth receiving assistance. Such questionnaires aim at collecting the necessary information that can aid in improving the state of service at the facility and the adoption of alternative tactics on an individual youth in case a particular method seems to work.

Interviews further involve the youths under care, the staff, and the community members. Discussions seek to collect information concerning the general feeling of stakeholders concerning the organization and the provided services. Lastly, MRV observes the trend of youths’ successful completion of the six months’ program and the rate of returning to the addiction issue to gauge its standards of success. MRV wills that no youth coming to the organization for behavioral rehabilitation manages to return to the ill behavior. That is why the organization goes to the point of securing jobs for the ex-addicts and offering grants to individuals and teams of former addicts to initiate activities that can earn them commercial value.


Research shows that about ninety percent of the youths struggling with drug abuse issues do that because of wrong intentions. Living in bad teenage groups or ailing from families where drug use is an everyday habit makes one adopt an erroneous perspective regarding the behavior. The matter further exposes an individual to immeasurable consequences that at times pose a threat to life and community stability. Adopting the proper theoretical intervention promises to end the affair. The theory of TPB is an excellent model that promises realistic results for the many organizations purposing to bring change around the world concerning the issues of drug abuse and dependence. The philosophy works mainly by impacting youths’ perception and showing them the haughtiness related to the drug-based life.


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Tai, H., Swartz, M. D., Marsden, D., & Perry, C. L. (2021). The future of substance abuse now: Relationships among adolescent use of vaping devices, marijuana, and synthetic cannabinoids. Substance Use & Misuse, 56(2), 192–204. Web.

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PsychologyWriting. "Youth Substance Abuse Intervention and Planned Behavior." September 19, 2023.