Understanding Which Teenagers Benefit Most From a Brief Primary Care Substance Use Intervention
A recent study has revealed that brief interventions given by primary care physicians can reduce alcohol and drug abuse among at-risk adolescents. This study aimed to address only alcohol and cannabis use disorders in teenagers who already reported the misuse of such substances. Participants were randomly assigned to receive an intervention from their physician or assigned as controls and then asked about their substance use habits 12 months later. Those who received an intervention reported a marked decrease in substance use through self-reporting and chemical screening. This research suggests that pediatricians and other general practitioners should speak candidly about the risks of substance use disorders with their patients.
Pieces like the featured article highlight the importance of responsible cannabis use. Cannabis is becoming more socially acceptable as states continue to put forth policies that legalize medical and recreational use. Like alcohol and other drugs, cannabis should remain a semi-controlled substance whose availability is restricted by age or other factors so that at-risk youth are unable or less likely to abuse its benefits. State laws currently decide who has access to cannabis but as at-home cultivators become more prominent it will be necessary to ensure the security of those plants to prevent adolescents from misusing plants grown by family or friends.
The study is available for review or download here
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