Substance Use Problems and Disorders
Substance use is the use of alcohol or illicit drugs. While the majority of children and adolescents who experiment with substances do not develop a substance use disorder, even occasional use can have serious consequences. Substance use increases the risk of fatal injury, especially in motor vehicle crashes.
Substance use disorders in children and adolescents are undertreated in the United States. In 2001, about 1.1 million American teens ages 12 through 17 met the criteria for substance abuse treatment, but fewer than 100,000 actually received treatment.1 Primary care providers should be able to identify and intervene with children and adolescents at risk for harm from substance use.2