Drug use among youths is associated with negative health and social consequences. Even infrequent use increases the risk for serious adverse events by increasing risk-taking behaviors in intoxicated or impaired persons.
To systematically review the benefits and harms of primary care-relevant interventions designed to prevent or reduce illicit drug use or the nonmedical use of prescription drugs among youths. Data Sources: PubMed, PsycINFO, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials through 4 June 2013; MEDLINE through 31 August 2013; and manual searches of reference lists and gray literature.
Two investigators independently reviewed 2253 abstracts and 144 full-text articles. English-language trials of primary care-relevant behavioral interventions that reported drug use, health outcomes, or harms were included.
One investigator abstracted data from good- and fair-quality trials into prespecified evidence tables, and a second investigator checked these data.
Six trials were included, 4 of which examined the effect of the intervention on a health or social outcome. One trial found no effect of the intervention on marijuana-related consequences or driving under the influence of marijuana; 3 trials generally found no reduction in depressed mood at 12 or 24 months. Four of the 5 trials assessing self-reported marijuana use found statistically significant differences favoring the intervention group participants (such as a between-group difference of 0.10 to 0.17 use occasions in the past month). Three trials also reported positive outcomes in nonmedical prescription drug use occasions.
The body of evidence was small, and there were heterogeneous measures of outcomes of limited clinical applicability. Trials primarily included adolescents with little or no substance use.
Evidence is inadequate on the benefits of primary care-relevant behavioral interventions in reducing self-reported illicit and pharmaceutical drug use among adolescents.
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