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November 1995

Early Identification, Screening, and Brief Intervention for Adolescent Alcohol Use

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Adolescent Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tenn (Dr Werner), and Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md (Dr Adger).

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149(11):1241-1248. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1995.02170240059009

The high prevalence of alcohol and other drug use by adolescents poses a significant threat to the wellness of youth.1-8 Whereas there has been a significant decrease in the reported prevalence of use for most illicit drugs, there has been relatively little change in the reported use of alcohol and tobacco, the two most common drugs of abuse.9,10 As such, alcohol remains the drug of choice for most adolescents. In 1993, 67% of eighth graders had tried alcohol in their lifetime, as had 81% of 10th graders and 87% of high school seniors.10 More than a quarter of eighth graders (26%) had used alcohol in the past month, as had 42% of 10th graders and 51% of high school seniors.10 Most disturbing is that, in all three grade levels, among those who had used alcohol in the past 30 days, half or more had had five or more drinks in a row at least once (13.5%, 23%, and 28%, respectively).10 Although only 1% of adolescents consider themselves to have a drinking problem, 23% have often driven after excessive drinking, 17% report problems in peer relationships because of drinking, and 10% have been criticized by a close friend for drinking.11

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