The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (Task Force) has come up with a recommendation statement about screening for illicit drug use, including nonmedical use of prescription drugs, in case of adults. As per them, there was not enough evidence to make a recommendation for or against screening teens ages 12 to 17 and is calling for more research in this important population.
Just drug screening is not enough to ensure safety today as illicit drug use is known to be among the most common causes of preventable death, injury, and disability in United States and also many other countries. Illicit drug can include using illegal drugs or using a prescription drug in a way that is not recommended by a clinician. Screening will involve asking questions about the drug use, frequency of use, or risks related to use.
“Illicit drug use can have a devastating impact on individuals and families,” says Task Force co-vice chair Karina Davidson, Ph.D., M.A.Sc. “Clinicians can help by screening their adult patients and connecting people who use illicit drugs to the care they need to get better.”
This draft is an update to the recommendation made by the Task Force in the year 2008 about the screening tools and new studies on the benefits and harms of treatment in adults. The current draft also highlights the importance of having systems in place that help people who use illicit drugs find the care they need to get better.
“We want to help prevent illicit drug use in teens, so we’re calling for more research on the benefits of screening,” says task Force member Carol Mangione, M.D., M.S.P.H. “Clinicians should continue to use their professional judgement to determine whats best for their teen patients.”
Parents and caregivers are suggested to talk to the teen’s clinician if they are concerned about teen drug use or if they see physical or behavioural evidence of the drug use.