Monday, December 8, 2008

Opportunities, Missed

A study just out from the Journal of Adolescent Health suggests that most physicians aren’t discussing substance use with their adolescent patients. According to the study, which looked at 2,192 adolescents 12 to 17 years old who had received a physical exam within the last six months, adolescents were not asked about substance use about 70% of the time.
“The guidelines say that adolescents should have an annual visit that provides screening and guidance about high-risk health behaviors,” said lead study author Sally Adams, R.N., Ph.D. “If teens can get preventive care to avoid risky behavior, it may impact their health not only in adolescence, but also throughout their lifetime.”
Physicians are in an excellent position to provide screening and early intervention—the best ways to avoid development of more serious problems—for their patients’ risky behaviors, making this a critical piece of any community prevention plan.

This research is especially timely for what’s going on here in Maine: the Maine Office of Substance Abuse has developed a tool to help healthcare providers address substance use in their young patients. As a complement to the OSA campaign here in Cumberland County, 21 Reasons is also developing some materials and trainings for use by pediatricians, with a tentative release date in Spring 2009.

No comments:

Post a Comment