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June 9, 2020

The Perils of Screening for Unhealthy Drug Use Are a Call to Action for the Mental Health Workforce

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York, New York
  • 2New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York
JAMA Psychiatry. 2020;77(11):1101-1102. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.1503

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) updated their recommendations1 and evidence report and systematic review2 regarding screening for unhealthy drug use. They now recommend clinicians screen all populations of adults, including pregnant women, in primary care settings for unhealthy drug use who do not currently have a substance use disorder (SUD) diagnosis or receive addiction treatment.2 The recommendation, with a grade B (screening should be implemented when services for accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, and appropriate care can be offered or referred), is an update to its 2008 inconclusive guidance on the relative benefits and harms for adults. However, the USPSTF maintained its inconclusive recommendation for adolescents given a lack of high-quality evidence (I statement).

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