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Parental identification and response to adolescent substance use and substance use disorders
Drugs-education Prevention and Policy (2017)
  • Brenda Curtis, University of Pennsylvania
  • Robert Ashford
  • Sarah Rosenbach, New York University
  • Max Stern, University of Pennsylvania
  • Kimberly Kirby, University of Pennsylvania
Previous research showing that parents tend to underestimate adolescent substance use is consistent with concerns that adolescent substance use may develop because parents delay in reacting to it. However, little research has examined parental decisions regarding how and when to intervene on adolescent substance use. This study examines the actions that parents report they would take after (a) discovering substance use to intoxication and (b) when they believe their child has a substance use problem. Internet surveys were conducted asking parents (N = 975) how they would respond to (a) evidence of their child’s use to intoxication and (b) their child’s significant problem with either alcohol, cannabis, prescription opioids, or illicit drugs. While parental response to alcohol and cannabis intoxication focused on talking with their children (34% and 45%, respectively) and punishment (30% and 18%, respectively), parents were significantly more likely to report help-seeking behaviors when responding to prescription opioid or illicit drug use intoxication (37% and 30%, respectively). More effective public health initiatives are needed to provide parents with practical strategies to address adolescent substance use and to increase parental engagement in the services offered by addiction specialists.
  • Substance use disorders,
  • parental attitudes,
  • SBIRT,
  • substance use prevention
Publication Date
October 9, 2017
Citation Information
Brenda Curtis, Robert Ashford, Sarah Rosenbach, Max Stern, et al.. "Parental identification and response to adolescent substance use and substance use disorders" Drugs-education Prevention and Policy (2017) p. 1 - 9
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