Health Care Professionals

Healthcare professionals play a critical role in preventing and reducing youth substance use.

Specific Tips for Healthcare Professionals from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Use (CASA)

  • Routinely discuss the dangers of adolescent substance use with patients and their parents.
  • Conduct routine substance use screenings of adolescent patients in primary care.
  • Screen teen patients who seek urgent or emergency medical care for substance use and substance use disorders, especially those who have injuries from accidents or violent incidents, mental health problems or who show other potential signs of substance use.
  • Conduct brief interventions using established protocols—short counseling sessions directed at changing a teen's attitudes and behavior related to substance use.
  • Treat or refer to specialty care. For adolescents, it is critical that the treatment provided be tailored to their age and circumstances, and that it addresses any co-occurring conditions such as anxiety or depression, ADHD or conduct disorders.
  • Expand treatment capacity in the medical system.
  • Require education and training in addiction services.
  • Encourage government and private health care insurers to reimburse for adolescent substance use prevention and treatment.