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Editorial
June 9, 2020

Screening for Unhealthy Drug Use: Neither an Unreasonable Idea Nor an Evidence-Based Practice

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Clinical Addiction Research and Education Unit, Section of General Internal Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 3Boston Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 4Grayken Center for Addiction, Boston Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 5Associate Editor, JAMA
JAMA. 2020;323(22):2263-2265. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.20152

In this issue of JAMA, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) presents a Recommendation Statement1 and an accompanying Evidence Review2 on screening for unhealthy drug use. “Unhealthy drug use” refers to drugs that are illegal or medications not used for medical purposes, including cannabis, but not including alcohol, nicotine, or tobacco. Unlike alcohol screening, drug screening approaches aim to capture any drug use and are not restricted to a specific substance; they capture the full spectrum of unhealthy use, from any use through a drug use disorder.

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