The most effective interventions to prevent adolescent drug abuse

Interventions to prevent adolescent drug abuse

A recent study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health looked at different substance abuse interventions for teenagers and determined which ones were the most effective in reducing the risk of adolescent drug abuse and addiction.

Researchers from Pakistan and Canada analyzed 46 reviews of interventions for adolescents related to smoking/tobacco use, alcohol use and drug abuse. They reviewed data based on the characteristics of individual studies and respective participants, descriptions of the methods and outcomes, measurements of the effects that these interventions had, methodological issues and finally the risk of bias.

There are several risk factors that can influence adolescent drug abuse including the availability of drugs, peer pressure, family environment, genetic factors, and certain personality traits. However, early intervention can play an important role in reducing the risk of addiction later in life.

The majority of individuals aged 18 to 30 who were admitted to substance abuse treatment centers in 2011 began use of either drugs or alcohol at 17 years old or younger, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). And by the time they are seniors almost 70 percent of high school seniors will have tried alcohol; approximately 40 percent will smoke a cigarette and more than 20 percent will have misused prescription drugs.

Researchers examined results from 20 reviews that focused on tobacco use/smoking. These included school-based interventions, family and community-based interventions, digital platforms, policy interventions, incentive-based interventions and interventions with several different components. The most effective interventions were intensive, family-based interventions, school-based interventions focused on prevention, community-based interventions, and interventions based on message broadcasting. Internet-based interventions, however, had mixed results and required further research.

For interventions for alcohol abuse, researchers looked at eight systematic reviews: school/college-based interventions, family and/or community-based interventions, interventions that utilized digital platforms, policy interventions, and multicomponent interventions. They concluded that… (continue reading)