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Evidence unclear on how clinicians can prevent minors' drug use

Tuesday October 1, 2013
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The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has posted a draft recommendation statement and draft evidence report on primary care behavioral interventions to reduce illicit drug and nonmedical pharmaceutical use in children and adolescents.

The task force’s draft recommendation is an “I” statement, meaning evidence is insufficient for the group to make a definitive recommendation for or against behavioral interventions in the primary care setting to prevent or reduce drug use in children and teens under age 18.

This recommendation includes illicit drug use, nonmedical use of prescription medications and misuse of over-the-counter medicines, and does not apply to children and teens who have been diagnosed with drug abuse or drug dependence. Young people who are abusing or addicted to drugs need help and require treatment.

The task force is providing an opportunity for public comment on this draft recommendation statement and evidence report until Oct. 28. All public comments will be considered as the task force develops its final recommendation statement and evidence report.

More than one in 10 teens ages 12 to 18 in the U.S. use illegal drugs or misuse prescription or over-the-counter medicines, possibly leading to serious health, educational and social consequences, according to the task force. Drug use is a significant contributor to car accidents, homicide and suicide in teens, the leading causes of death in adolescents. Every year, more than 150,000 teens are seen in EDs as a result of illicit drug and nonmedical pharmaceutical use.

“The task force clearly recognizes the significance of preventing illicit drug use or misuse of medicines among children and teens,” task force member Susan J. Curry, PhD, said in a news release. “However, we found that there was not enough evidence to determine what effective measures primary care professionals can take to prevent children and teens who have never used drugs from trying them and reduce use among teens who are already experimenting.”

“Because of the importance of keeping kids healthy and safe, the task force calls on the research community to continue to search for ways to prevent and reduce illicit drug and nonmedical pharmaceutical use in kids and teens,” task force member Adelia Gonzales Cantu, RN, PhD, said in the release.

Draft recommendation and opportunity to comment: www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/tfcomment.htm


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