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NIDA Notes Articles: Teens

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A Rapid Teen Substance Use Screening Tool for Clinicians

July 2015

Answers to three simple questions can help a busy health care provider flag a teen’s problematic use of alcohol, tobacco, or marijuana.

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Electronic Questionnaire Quickly Rates Teens’ Substance Use

July 2015

With a few simple questions, a new screening tool detects whether a teen is likely to have a mild-to-moderate or a severe substance use disorder.

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Among High School Seniors, Driving After Marijuana Use Surpasses Drunk Driving

July 2014

Within the 2 weeks prior to responding to a nationwide survey, 28 percent of high school seniors were in a vehicle whose driver had been using marijuana or another illicit drug, or had drunk 5 or more alcoholic drinks.

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In Nationwide Survey, More Students Use Marijuana, Fewer Use Other Drugs

April 2014

Almost one-third (32 percent) of the roughly 42,000 Monitoring the Future survey respondents reported having used marijuana during their lifetime. However, abuse of many other drugs—methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and some prescription medications—declined.

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Women Benefit From Policies To Prevent Teens From Buying Tobacco

November 2013

Women who reached their majority in states with policies that restricted teens’ access to tobacco products were less likely to smoke from ages 18-34 than women in states without those policies. The research did not demonstrate that the policies had a comparable impact on men’s smoking.

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Early-Onset, Regular Cannabis Use Is Linked to IQ Decline

August 2013

Regular cannabis use that starts in adolescence strips away IQ, a NIDA-supported study suggests. Participants who initiated weekly cannabis use before age 18 dropped IQ points in proportion to how long they persisted in using the drug. Persistent cannabis users’ cognitive difficulties were evident to friends and family and measurable on a battery of tests.

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Problem Behaviors Can Signal Risk in Prescribing Opioids to Teens

July 2013

Researchers found that 1 in 8 high school seniors had used a prescription opioid nonmedically, and 70 percent of these teens had compounded the attendant risk by co-ingesting an opioid with one or more other drugs. Nonmedical opioid use was significantly more prevalent among whites than among African Americans or Hispanics.

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Adolescent Cigarette, Alcohol Use Declines as Marijuana Use Rises

February 2013

Fewer teens are using cigarettes, alcohol, and most illicit drugs, according to NIDA’s latest Monitoring the Future study. Troubling  trends persist in marijuana use, however, and nonmedical prescription drug use remains a concern.

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SAAF‒T Reduces African American Teens’ Substance Use, Conduct Problems

February 2013

Teens who participated in the intervention Strong African American FamiliesTeen at age 16 reported fewer conduct problems and depressive symptoms and less substance abuse at age 17‒18, compared to peers exposed to a control intervention.

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Brief Intervention Helps Adolescents Curb Substance Use

January 2013

NIDA-funded researchers have gathered evidence that brief interventions can help adolescents move away from drug use. In a clinical trial, middle and high school students markedly reduced their substance use following two 60-minute sessions that combined motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy.


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