Improving Identification of Adolescents at Risk for Substance Use Disorders
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The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends screening adolescent patients for drug and alcohol use following a standardized process and utilizing a developmentally appropriate screening tool. The purpose of the evidence based project was to identify adolescents at risk for substance use disorders; addiction beginning in adolescence is a predictor of addictive disorders in adulthood and is associated with significant morbidity and mortality in teens. This project involved an evidence based intervention for 12 to 18-year-olds to improve identification of adolescent patients at risk for substance use disorders, using the screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment process and the CRAFFT screening tool over a three-month period at a pediatric primary care clinic. The project used a quasi-experimental, two group, prospective design with convenience sampling for the intervention group and retrospective chart reviews for the baseline group. The sample size was 70 with 35 patients from the baseline group and 35 patients who presented for preventative care at the pediatric clinic in a community health center in Missouri. The CRAFFT screening tool was given to eligible patients to complete before being seen by a provider. Patients scoring greater than or equal to two on the six-item questionnaire were considered high risk for substance use disorders and were appropriately referred. The number of patients referred for substance use disorders pre-intervention was compared to the number referred post-intervention. Results showed a marginal improvement in substance abuse identification between the intervention and baseline group. Using a standardized process and screening tool to identify teens who have experimented with drugs and alcohol allows providers to intervene before serious addiction occurs.
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