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Hot Publication - Clark et al.

Screening for underage drinking and Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition alcohol use disorder in rural primary care practice
Clark DB, Martin CS, Chung T, Gordon AJ, Fiorentino L, Tootell M and Rubio DM
Journal of Pediatrics, published online

A study led by Dr. Duncan Clark indicates that a single screening question about drinking frequency in the past year could help doctors identify adolescents at risk for alcohol problems.  

Dr. Clark and his team collaborated with a network of rural primary care practitioners to carry out the study.  The investigators asked nearly 1,200 young people ages 12 through 20 at primary care clinics in rural Pennsylvania about their alcohol use and screened them for alcohol use disorder (AUD) using a computer-based questionnaire.   

The investigators found that 10% of rural youth over age 14 met the diagnostic criteria for AUD in the past year, as specified in the DSM-5. Adolescents between 12 and 17 years of age who reported drinking at least one standard drink on three or more days in the past year were most at risk for alcohol problems. Among those who drank at this level, they found that 44% had AUD. The study also supports the use of the age-based screening thresholds put forward in National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention for Youth: A Practitioner’s Guide.  

“This finding confirms that a single question can be an effective screen for AUD,” said Dr. Clark. “We found that this information could be readily collected through our tablet computer system in busy rural clinic settings.”

The new findings are now online in The Journal of Pediatrics.  Click here to view the abstract.

Contributors:
Duncan B. Clark, MD, PhD, Christopher S. Martin, PhD and Tammy Chung, PhD (Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine)

Adam J. Gordon, MD, MPH (Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine) 

Lisa Fiorentino, PhD (Center for Rural Health Practice, University of Pittsburgh Bradford Campus)

Mason Tootell, MD (Warren Medical Group Family Practice)

Doris M. Rubio, PhD (Center for Research on Health Care, University of Pittsburgh)