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Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment for Adolescents

Levy, Sharon MD, MPH; Knight, John R. MD

Journal of Addiction Medicine: December 2008 - Volume 2 - Issue 4 - p 215-221
doi: 10.1097/ADM.0b013e31818a8c7a
Review Article

Drug, alcohol, and tobacco use is highly prevalent among high school students in United States, and adolescents, even those without a substance use disorder, are at high risk of morbidity and mortality related to use of these substances. The primary care setting provides access to adolescents, and the health maintenance visit provides a private, confidential setting in which patients expect to discuss health-related behaviors and receive advice. This article reviews guidelines for identifying and managing adolescent substance use in the primary care setting, including screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment.

From the Department of Pediatrics (S.L., J.R.K.) and Division on Addictions (S.L., J.R.K.), Harvard Medical School; Division of Developmental Medicine (S.L., J.R.K.), Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research (S.L., J.R.K.), and Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine (J.R.K.), Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.

Received for publication June 26, 2008; accepted August 14, 2008.

Send correspondence and reprint requests to Sharon Levy, MD, MPH, Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research, Children's Hospital Boston, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. e-mail:

© 2008 American Society of Addiction Medicine