Teen alcohol and drug disorders more common than previously thought

likely to tell the truth to their medical providers than their parents."

Edward A. Jacobs, M.D., chairperson of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Substance Abuse Committee, believes the CRAFFT research will help pave the way for better physician practices when it comes to screening for alcohol and drug use. "The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is deeply concerned about substance abuse among our nation's adolescents and believes that pediatricians can play an important role in screening and intervention efforts. The academy has published policy statements that encourage the pediatrician to be actively involved in screening, early diagnosis and intervention, or referral. The absence of a reliable, field-tested, simple screening instrument, constraints of time, lack of reimbursement and treatment availability, have made this recommendation very difficult to implement. However, with the advent of accurate, brief screening tools such as the CRAFFT, it is my hope that adolescents with substance abuse will now be identified much earlier and receive the assessment and treatment they need."

"This study shows how important it is for physicians to screen all of their adolescent patients for substance abuse just as they routinely check blood pressure and weight. In our clinic setting, one in four patients coming in for routine care - including annual physical exams and minor physical problems - screened positive on the CRAFFT test," said Knight. He said the study's findings suggest a need to increase the capacity for treatment of adolescents who screen positive for substance abuse disorders. "In many communities, current resources are not adequate to meet the need indicated by studies such as this one. New approaches, such as office-based interventions, must be developed to address the magnitude of the problem." Researchers at Children's Hospital are currently studying new ways of treating these adolescents in the next phase of their work.


Contact: Susan Craig
Children's Hospital Boston

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