Adolescent Substance Misuse and Driving
- Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death and serious injury in adolescents (Johnston, O’Malley, and Bachman, 2012).
- 16% of Illinois Youth reported riding with a driver who had been drinking alcohol in the last 30 days. (2019 YRSB).
- Of Illinois Youth who had driven a car in the last 30 days, 5% had driven after using alcohol (2019 YRSB).
- According to the CDC, between 2006 and 2010, excessive drinking accounted for approximately 4,300 deaths each year among youth under 21 years of age.
Adolescent Risk of Traumatic Brain Injury
Alcohol use and traumatic brain injury are bi-directionally related.
• 30-50% of patients treated for traumatic brain injury were intoxicated at the time of injury.
• Loss of psychomotor functioning associated with alcohol consumption increases the likelihood of an accident, thus increasing the risk of traumatic brain injury (Weil, Corrigan & Karelina, 2016)
Alcohol misuse during adolescence contributes to risk taking behaviors that may result in traumatic brain injury such as:
- Reckless driving
- Unprovoked falls
- Violence related injuries
Role of Primary Care Provider
- Discuss “Contract for Life” with your patients, a document that asks adolescents to pledge never to accept a ride from an impaired driver.
- Encourage parents to pledge to always provide a safe ride home.
History of TBI and Impact on Adolescent Substance Misuse