Monday, August 31, 2015

Use of Marijuana and Alcohol among Youth with Chronic Illness, Especially Those Non-Adherent to Treatment

By: Lewis First, MD, MS; Editor-in-Chief 

          Adolescent risk-taking is something we all work hard to talk about and prevent with our teen patients during routine health maintenance visits.  But how often do we focus on risk-taking prevention in our teens with chronic illness such as cystic fibrosis, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease and others? 
      Weitzman et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-0722) share with us the results of a cross-sectional study of more than 400 chronically ill preteens and teens ranging from 9 to 18 years who completed a self-administered survey that enabled correlation of risk-taking behaviors with disease knowledge and treatment adherence behaviors while controlling for possible confounders like mental health co-morbidities.  
      The results are concerning and show high school aged teens with chronic illness demonstrating more usage of alcohol and binge drinking as well as marijuana use than you might expect and things get even worse in those teens who forget or skip their routine medications.  There’s lots more to be learned and then shared with your patients with chronic illness with the hope of curbing their risk-taking so at no risk—read this article and learn more.   
     Are you finding your non-adherent teen patients with chronic illness are similar to those in this study when it comes to risk-taking behaviors?  Share your thoughts with us by responding to this blog, sending us an e-letter or posting on our Facebook site or Twitter.

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