Objective: The main purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a brief intervention and a preventive orientation on the use of alcohol and other drugs directed towards adolescents.
Methods: Ninety nine youths who sought medical assistance in an out patient service specialized in adolescents were classified, according to their level of consumption of substances, into users during the last month (UM) or non users during the last month (NUM). Each of these was divided into four groups: a control group of users in the last month (COUM), a control group of non users in the last month (CONUM), a Brief Intervention group (BI--in case they were regular users) and a Preventive Orientation group (PO--in case they were non users in the last month). The preventive orientation lasted 2-3 minutes and the brief intervention took about 20 minutes, both followed a structured schedule. All participants were followed-up and evaluated for a 6 months period.
Results: In the 6-month follow-up, a significant increase in cannabis, alcohol and tobacco consumption, as well as in the intensity of related-problems, was observed in the CONUM group. The increase of alcohol and tobacco consumption observed in the PO group had a significantly lesser frequency and lower intensity than in the CONUM group. Moreover, no increase in cannabis consumption was observed in this group. The BI group showed a significant reduction in the number of users during the last month with respect to most substances, as well as in relation to substance-related problems.
Conclusion: Our results confirm that a single brief intervention session is effective in reducing consumption of psychoactive substances in adolescents. Although influence of other factors could not be discarded, preventive orientation reduced the increase of cannabis consumption but increased use of tobacco and alcohol. Further and more in depth studies are required to evaluate the usefulness of preventive programs on alcohol and other drug consumption, in order to bring to light more effective and comprehensive approaches.