STOP SHORT of Addiction (English and Spanish) - Overview

Developed in 1999 in response to the increasing rates of youth substance use and crime in Orange County, STOP SHORT of Addiction provides intensive, state-certified substance abuse services to youth drug offenders or drug users. Based on our successful SHORTSTOP model, STOP SHORT of Addiction provides an alternative to incarceration that includes group substance abuse treatment, intensive legal education, and an individualized restorative justice plan.

Bilingual, bicultural therapists administer the program with assistance from trained legal experts, the Sheriff’s Coroner, and local law enforcement narcotics officers. Guest speakers are provided by the Youth Guidance Center and Volunteers on Parole. Program services are offered in both English and Spanish, and provide youth and their families with:

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STOP SHORT of Addiction targets Orange County youth, aged 12 to 18, who have come in contact with the criminal justice system and are using drugs and/or alcohol. Parental participation is mandatory.

Last year, STOP SHORT of Addiction served over 241 youth and 271 family members.

Why We Offer This Program

Substance abuse continues to be a significant threat to the health and safety of our community. Currently, 63% of 11th graders in Orange County report using alcohol and/or drugs, 29% say that they have driven a car while drinking, and 46% have been a passenger in a car with someone that is drinking.  All youth are potentially at risk for substance abuse, but our Latino youth population is particularly vulnerable. While Latinos represent 42% of Orange County’s youth, they account for 57% of the youth in substance abuse treatment, 61% of the youth accessing county mental health services, 86% of teen mothers, 69% of high school dropouts, 89% of youth gang members and 67% of youth probationers (Conditions of Children in Orange County, 2013). Read more

Substance use is linked with a range of serious social, emotional, and health problems, one being an increased likelihood that youth will come in contact with the juvenile justice system. This is supported by the fact that the legal system accounts for over 34% of the youth in Orange County that are referred to substance abuse treatment. Once youth have had contact with the juvenile justice system, they have a significantly greater chance of being incarcerated as an adult.

Get Started!

Referrals to the STOP SHORT of Addiction programs (English & Spanish versions) are most commonly from local law enforcement agencies, schools, and other community based organizations.  If you would like additional information on how to make a referral and/or verify if the program is appropriate for you, contact Martha Veliz at Project Youth at (714) 480-1925, ext. 119.

Testimonials and Success Stories

“I found STOP SHORT of Addiction to stand out from the other court-provided programs. The first class uses great scare tactics to discourage the repetition of misbehavior. The orange jumpsuits, handcuffs, and guest speaker discouraged drug and alcohol use for our personal safety as well as the safety of others. I liked how the guest speakers at the second session were able to provide personal insight and opinions…Overall, I believe STOP SHORT of Addiction to be a great program.”

-STOP SHORT of Addiction student

(1 of 5)

“I personally thought that the STOP SHORT of Addiction program was very interesting and very helpful to my situation in my life. When the program brought in kids from jail their stories really got into my head and I truly appreciated you guys for bringing them in and letting them explain their stories and problems to us. I truly thank you for this program and my second chance. Thank you guys again.”

-STOP SHORT of Addiction student

(2 of 5)

“This program gave me a chance to think about my future and appreciate what I have. I learned about the effects of drugs and how deadly they are. I think this is a great program because it gives you a second chance and it’s a reality check for the people like me.”

-STOP SHORT of Addiction youth

(3 of 5)

“The first night in the courtroom I didn’t know what to expect. When I saw the orange jumpsuit I thought it was crazy. I don’t ever want to wear that ever again! I didn’t like how I was being questioned by the Santa Ana cop, but it made me think about what I’m doing. Having to talk about my mistakes in front of everyone wasn’t easy. My favorite part about the program was the second night of STOP SHORT of Addiction where we talked to a therapist. He heard what we had to say and talked to us about finding other ways to have a good time without the use of drugs.”

-STOP SHORT of Addiction youth

(4 of 5)

Lisa was fifteen when she got caught drinking at school and was referred to the Probation Department. As part of her probation Lisa was required to attend the STOP SHORT of Addiction program. During her intake, it became clear that a deep pain was underlying her actions. At the age of eight, she had been sexually abused. Her mother reported the abuse when it happened and made sure Lisa had counseling. And for many years after that, Lisa managed to get by. But when she started having flashbacks of her abuse, alcohol and marijuana quickly became her way of coping.

For over a year, Lisa kept these secrets from her mother. Thankfully, that changed when she entered STOP SHORT of Addiction. As she opened up to the STOP SHORT of Addiction case manager, the walls she had built to protect herself came down. It was clear that she desperately needed more help. So, the case manager and her probation officer added a referral for specialized sexual abuse treatment to the list of Lisa’s probation requirements. “I know I wasn’t making good decisions and I was hanging out with the wrong crowd. I couldn’t see how I was dealing with my feelings until now. I really felt the case manager was listening to me and really cared for me…I felt I could trust her and share my feelings of sadness, guilt, and anger. I hope that this program and the additional counseling that I will be receiving will help me. I’m confident and ready to do whatever it takes to change.”

-STOP SHORT of Addiction participant *name has been changed

(5 of 5)

Let's Get Started!

Call or email us today. Bilingual, Spanish-speaking staff available.
Martha Veliz Coordinator 714.480.1925 x119
Gabriel Ruan Instructional Assistant 714.480.1925 x129
Daniel Cacho Instructional Assistant 714.480.1925 x127