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Screening for Adolescent Alcohol Use in the Emergency Department: What Does It Tell Us About Cannabis, Tobacco, and Other Drug Use?

An opportune time for alcohol and drug screening, many patients who visit the pediatric emergency department (PED) undergo the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) two-question alcohol screen. Led by a team including incoming PISC Advisory Board member Joel Fein, this study evaluates the association between the NIAAA screen results and adolescent diagnoses of cannabis use disorder (CUD), lifetime tobacco use, and lifetime drug use. It found that all three were predicted by any self-reported alcohol use in the past year, drinking was most strongly predictive of a CUD, and that a single question about past year alcohol use can provide valuable information about other substance use, particularly marijuana.




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