Home > Substance abuse amongst adolescents in modern suburban ireland.

Halbgewachs, Colin and Ismail, Hazwani and Purewal, Kaverveer and Culkin, Sarah and Sandys, Vicki and Hadad, ZakariyahAl and Barrett, Elizabeth and Murphy, Anne Marie and Roche, Edna (2011) Substance abuse amongst adolescents in modern suburban ireland. In: Excellence in Paediatrics 2011, 30 November - 03 December 2011, Istanbul Congress Centre, Turkey.

External website: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/ineip/pages/...

[Note. This is a conference abstract]

Introduction: The substances known to be abused by teenagers include alcohol, cannabis, inhalants, sedatives and other illicit drugs. The European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) suggests that alcohol abuse in particular is a bigger problem in Ireland compared to both Europe and USA.

Purpose: The aim of our study was to determine the prevalence and type of substances being abused by contemporary Irish adolescents and to explore the options available for combating this problem.

Materials and methods: A CRAFFT questionnaire, validated and specifically designed as a screening tool for substance abuse in adolescents was administered to all patients aged between 10 and 16 years (parental consent permitting) admitted to a busy general paediatric hospital for any reason over a 7 day period in January 2011. A random selection of 24 charts of Irish children admitted to the same paediatric hospital because of substance abuse issues over the 12 month period of 2009 were reviewed and the following data recorded; type of substances abused, frequency of substance abuse, method of access to the substance and presence of substance abuse risk factors.

Results/conclusion: The results from the CRAFFT questionnaire showed that out of the 33 (16 female, 14 male) adolescents surveyed, 2 (6%) reported scores that suggested a potential substance abuse problem. From our chart reviews we found that the two most common substances abused are alcohol (46%) and cannabis (17%). The most commonly combined drugs are alcohol (86%) and cannabis (57%). The majority of patients receive the substances from their home/family (43%) or friends (48%). Furthermore, the presence of substance abusing risk factors (78%) in patients outweighed their absence (22%). Prevention of adolescent substance abuse should involve targeting risk factors on an individual and environmental level.

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