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Adolescents, Drug, Prevention, Substance, Treatment



  1. Schiffman, Rachel F. PhD, RN, FAAN


This article provides an overview of adolescent drug and substance use, and includes prevalence and trends, commonly occurring comorbid conditions, clinical manifestations of drug and substance use, and evidence-based prevention and treatment principles. Risk and protective factors in five domains are also discussed in this article to provide guidance for assessment and care planning. A detailed table of the most prevalent drugs used by adolescents, including the drug's street names and the clinical manifestations of each drug's use, is offered to assist nurses in understanding their adolescent patients' language and to aid in teaching. Nurses are in varied and ideal positions to begin early screening (and to include families, peers, and other important influences in the adolescent's life), to provide continuity of care, and to advocate in the policy arena for development and funding of comprehensive and efficacious programs to help prevent or treat substance use in adolescents.