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In the United States, drug overdose deaths exceed 72,000 annually, and some of these substance abuse issues begin with the young adult population. These patients are particularly vulnerable. When compared to an older adult, it is four times easier for an adolescent with a developing brain to become addicted or develop a substance use disorder.
It's clear that addiction prevention in children and teens is an important component of adolescent primary care, but how can physicians most effectively approach substance abuse in young patients? We explore that in today's episode of Charting Pediatrics.
This episode was recorded live from the 2018 American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in Orlando, Fla. with Leslie R. Walker-Harding, MD, discussing addiction prevention in primary care. Dr. Walker-Harding is the Medical Director of Penn State Children's Hospital.
Primary care providers are also tasked with determining when kids need anticipatory guidance versus more intensive interventions. As Dr. Walker-Harding explains, pediatricians must first build a foundation of trust by creating a safe space that promotes discussion with both parents and teens. The child's age, reaction to the use of illicit substances and the intensity of use all guide a provider's approach. If generational substance use is a factor, parent intervention programs are incredibly effective, and evidence supports their use.