Adolescent Substance Misuse remains an important concern in our country. For many young people, the risk factors leading to substance use were magnified during the first 18 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, and continue to have an impact on their biopsychosocial development. Social isolation, breaks in school connection, increased parental substance misuse and family stress are all factors known to put youth at increased risk for initiating misuse of substances (Sarvey, 2021). Yet, less than 10% of youth between 12 and 17 years old who have a substance misuse problem are provided treatment (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2019). For primary care doctors, it’s important to keep in mind that young people with substance issues are likely to present with other psychiatric difficulties, such as depression, trauma, anxiety or trouble with the criminal justice system, as the primary complaint and never discuss or downplay their substance use (Aarons et al, 2001). Therefore, it is key to regularly screen for comorbid Substance Use Disorders when treating other mental health conditions. Illinois DocAssist consultants can assist primary care doctors in screening, diagnosing and treating adolescents with Substance Misuse Disorders. Call 1-866-986-2778 Monday through Friday 9am-5pm to speak with a consultant.
Illinois DocAssist offers several online resources and tools for Primary Care Providers to address pediatric substance misuse.
- Pediatric Substance Misuse – Here you will find concise information and accessible resources on the impact of pediatric substance misuse and the primary care provider’s role in screening and interventions.
- Adolescent Substance Use and Motivational Interviewing – In this webinar hosted by Illinois Health Connect, Illinois Doc Assist consultant Dr. Diane Misch reviews best practices in assessment and intervention of adolescent substance abuse within the primary care setting.
- Screening Tools – Access free and accessible screening tools for Adolescent Substance Misuse and co-morbid mental health conditions.
- Vaping – Information on the risks of vaping, resources and interventions.
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) – Information on the association between alcohol use and traumatic brain injury as well as primary care interventions.
Aarons GA, Brown SA, Hough RL, Garland AF, Wood PA. Prevalence of Adolescent Substance Use Disorders Across Five Sectors of Care. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. 2001;40(4):419-426. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0890856709603907.
Sarvey D, Welsh JW. Adolescent substance use: Challenges and opportunities related to COVID-19. J Subst Abuse Treat. 2021;122:108212. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0740547220304694.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (Ed.), Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 82 (2019)