This paper builds upon a helpful typology of free clinics that divides then into four major kinds - the street, neighborhood, youth, and sponsored. While the typology tends to weave among characteristics of clientele, locale, and source of support in setting up its units, it nonetheless has the advantage of being based on an empirical assessment of the major forms of clinic operations through the country. Youth clinics - the type that particularly concerns us here - are defined as "generally organized by adults, service clubs, or official boards... because of their concern about drug use among high school students." Such clinics are distinctive from the other types in that "they generally offer drug care which is limited to education and counseling."

Our examination of the youth clinic model attempts to determine its distinctive characteristics vis-a-vis the remaining types of programs. In this regard, we hope to move information and insights about free clinics beyond the head-counting, diagnosis-tabulating stage and the sometimes (and quite understandable) self-congratulatory observations that have surrounded the early, innovative period of the free clinic movement.

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