Drug, alcohol screening for teen trauma

May 17, 2006 at 12:48 PM
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ANN ARBOR, Mich., May 17 (UPI) -- Michigan researchers found nearly 40 percent of hospitalized pediatric trauma patients ages 14 to 17 screened for substance abuse tested positive.

Of the patients who tested positive, 29 percent of positive tests were for opiates like opium or heroin, 11.2 percent for alcohol and 20 percent for marijuana, according to the study published in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery.

Researchers at the University of Michigan Health System say one way to help curb risky teen behavior is to do drug screening for all hospitalized pediatric trauma patients and offer brief alcohol and substance abuse intervention programs to those who test positive.

"The two major preventable health issues facing adolescents are injuries that result in death or disability, and lifestyle choices that have long-term, adverse health consequences," says study author Dr. Peter F. Ehrlich, clinical associate professor at the University of Michigan Medical School.

"To help alter this risk-taking behavior, it is essential that drug testing and brief substance abuse intervention programs be included in the treatment of all injured adolescents."

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