Emergency department alcohol and drug screening for Illinois pediatric trauma patients, 1999 to 2009

Am J Surg. 2014 Oct;208(4):531-5. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2014.06.003. Epub 2014 Jul 18.


Background: Recent guidelines recommend universal substance abuse screening for all trauma patients aged 12 years and older because brief interventions can help prevent future trauma. However, little is known about actual rates of screening in this setting.

Methods: The Illinois State Trauma Registry was queried for severely injured patients from 1999 to 2009. Multivariate logistic regression was used to characterize, according to demographic and physiologic parameters, which patients were screened with blood alcohol and urine toxicology and which screened positive.

Results: Of the 12,264 pediatric patients, 40% were tested for alcohol and 37% for drugs. Nine percent of patients screened positive for alcohol and 8% for drugs. Age strongly predicted positive tests, as did male sex. Black and Hispanic patients were screened for alcohol most frequently, but only Hispanics were more likely to test positive.

Conclusion: Although current guidelines recommend screening all trauma patients 12 years and older, current practice falls far short of this goal.

Keywords: Alcohol; Pediatrics; Screening; Trauma.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcoholism / complications
  • Alcoholism / diagnosis
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Pediatric / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Illinois / epidemiology
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Mass Screening*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Trauma Centers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Wounds and Injuries / complications*
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology