Alcohol and Other Drug Use in a Sample of Admitted Adolescent Trauma Patients

J Subst Abus Alcohol. 2018;6(2):1077. Epub 2018 May 31.


Introduction: Alcohol screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment is mandated within the level 1 pediatric trauma center. However, data on the prevalence of alcohol and drug use among admitted pediatric trauma patients is limited. Our study objective was to describe substance use and related negative consequences in admitted adolescent trauma patients across three pediatric level 1 trauma centers.

Methods: This surveillance study was nested within a study on electronically delivered parenting skills education to parents of admitted adolescents (12-17 years) screening positive for alcohol or drug use. Enrolled adolescents completed baseline assessments to examine demographics, substance use and related negative consequences. Thirty-seven parent-adolescent dyads enrolled in the intervention study.

Results: Participants were eligible if they received a positive CRAFFT score or a positive biological screen for alcohol or drug use at time of the hospital admission. Of those enrolled into the study, 9 (24%) reported no substance use in the prior 12 months in our assessment battery. Of the remaining 28 patients, 6 (16%) reported using only alcohol, 10 (27%) only marijuana, 9 (24%) both alcohol and marijuana, and 3 (8%) alcohol and marijuana with other drugs in the past 12 months. Negative consequences reported varied between those who reported alcohol use only and those who reported marijuana use only with physical consequences of use most often being reported by those using alcohol (hangover, vomiting), and psychosocial consequences (getting into trouble with parents, doing something later regret) by those who used only marijuana.

Conclusion: These findings support the use of laboratory screening and screening questionnaires for all adolescent trauma admissions to capture a complete picture of alcohol and drug use.

Keywords: Alcohol screening; Pediatric trauma center; SBIRT.