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Adolescent Substance Use and Abuse

Robert W. Blum, MD, PhD
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151(8):805-808. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1997.02170450055008.
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In 1990, the Institute of Medicine, Washington, DC, issued its report about alcohol problems in the United States—Broadening the Base for Alcohol Treatment in the United States.1 In the section about adolescent drug use and abuse, the report concluded the following: (1) little is known of the nature of adolescent drug use beyond prevalence data (ie, of those who drink heavily or use illicit substances during their teenage years, who will "mature out" and who will not?); (2) despite the fact that throughout the 1980s there was a dramatic increase in treatment programs for youth, as of 1990, there were few treatment outcome studies; (3) little is known about adolescent drug users except those most heavily involved; (4) there is little consensus as to what constitutes abuse, problem use, or dependence in adolescence; (5) there is little consensus as to outcome measures (eg, how "successful treatment" is defined);

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