20 Jun USPSTF: Insufficient Evidence To Recommend Routine Screening of Teens for Unhealthy Drug Use
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Karina Davidson, PhD
Senior Vice President of Research
Dean of Academic Affairs
Professor of Behavioral Medicine
Zucker School of Medicine
Hofstra University/Northwell Health
US Preventive Services Task Force
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Drug use is among the most common causes of preventable death, injury, and disability in the United States, with nearly 10 percent of adults reporting unhealthy drug use. This includes the use of illegal drugs, as well as using prescription drugs in ways that are not recommended by a doctor.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: . Fortunately, our review of dozens of studies shows that clinicians can help by talking with adults about unhealthy drug use and connecting those who have a problem with drugs to the care they need to get better. That said, we did not find enough evidence to recommend for or against screening teens for unhealthy drug use and are calling for more research in this area.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Drug use can have a devastating impact on people and families, but the good news is that clinicians can help. For the first time, the Task Force is recommending that clinicians screen all adults for unhealthy drug use by asking questions about their drug use. It’s important to note that this screening should be implemented only when services for accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, and appropriate care can be offered or referred. In addition, we want to be clear that screening refers to asking questions about drug use, not testing someone’s urine, saliva, or blood
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: The Task Force identified several areas that could benefit from more evidence. Most notably, the Task Force is calling for more research on the effectiveness of interventions and screening by asking questions for teens. We’re also encouraging more research on screening frequency, the accuracy of screening tools for detecting nonmedical use of prescription drugs, and ways to improve access to interventions and treatment.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: With this recommendation, we want to highlight the importance of having systems in place to help people who use drugs find the care they need to get better. We recognize it may be challenging for some clinicians to find diagnostic assessment and treatment services that work for their patients. Fortunately, there are several resources available to help. For example, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers an online service to locate providers who offer treatment.
US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for Unhealthy Drug Use: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. JAMA. 2020;323(22):2301–2309. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.8020
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