Stories about: Prescription drugs

5 things to know about talking to your kids about heroin (and other drugs)

Dadboywalking (3)The news seems to be everywhere — misuse of prescription pain medication has led to an epidemic of opioid addiction. And the phenomenon is occurring in both teens and adults.

Every day, 2,500 American youth use a prescription pain reliever without a prescription for the first time, according to Foundation for a Drug-free World.

Many teens who misuse pain medication will lose control over use — the hallmark of addiction. Eventually, some will switch to heroin, which is the same class of drug as prescription pain medication but much stronger.  Dr. Sharon Levy, director of the Boston Children’s Hospital Adolescent Substance Abuse Program, offers tips to help parents understand the problem and talk to their kids about drugs and alcohol.

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Brief screening during doctor visit can dramatically reduce teenage drinking

By reviewing a computer based screening on patient alcohol use, doctors can help reduce underage drinking according to a new study

Can a doctor really persuade a teenager not to use alcohol or drugs with a two or three minute intervention? The answer is “yes,” according to a new study in the journal Pediatrics.

Conducted by Sion Harris, PhD, CPH and her team at Boston Children’s Hospital’s Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research (CeASAR), the study demonstrates that a small effort on the part of patients and primary care physicians can go a long way in combating underage drinking.

“In just a few minutes we can make a significant impact in reducing teenage alcohol use,” says Harris. “By streamlining the alcohol screening process for clinicians and patients alike we can make the process easier and more efficient for everyone, which will yield more positive results.”

Teens in Harris’s study completed a five-minute computer-based survey, known as the CRAFFT, which asks six simple questions about alcohol and drug use. After the screening users are assigned a “score” and risk level based on their answers. They’re then directed to 10 illustrated pages of stories and science-based evidence about the serious health effects of alcohol and drug use.

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Fact or fiction: Today’s teenagers are more wild than ever

For decades, teenagers have gotten a pretty bad rap from the generations that came before them. The clothes, hairstyles and music may change, but the age-old notion of teenagers being wilder than ever before predates anyone old enough to have the thought. Complaining about wayward teens may be a parental cliché, but that’s only because it’s true, right?

Not so fast parents: According to a new study at the University of Michigan, today’s kids are actually a little more conservative than many of you were at their age.

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Could better substance abuse screening during doctor visits reduce underage drinking?

In today’s busy medical environment, doctors are asked to do a lot in a short amount of time. The average well visit clocks in at somewhere around 12 minutes these days, which means pediatricians need to screen children for several potential problems in a very finite amount of time.

Because of these time restrictions there simply isn’t enough time to do all the screenings recommended as part of general health care. One area that often gets overlooked is substance abuse among adolescent patients.

Data suggests that many physicians do not routinely broach the topic of alcohol and drug use with their teen patients because there isn’t enough time to bring the subject up, or they don’t always know what to do when a screen suggests a patient may have a problem.

To make the process easier on time starved doctors, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol Addiction (NIAAA) and the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) have both released screening and brief intervention guidelines that will help physicians choose valid screening tools and clearly explain when to suggest appropriate interventions for their patients.

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