Busy Docs Now Have Tool to Screen Teens for Substance Abuse

From 1999 to 2001, researchers at the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research at Children's Hospital Boston refined a brief questionnaire, called the CRAFFT, that primary care physicians can use to screen for alcohol or substance abuse problems in adolescent patients.

The Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research is a research organization working to discover new ways to reduce substance abuse and related disorders in children and adolescents.

Key Findings

As reported in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine (June 2002):

  • The investigators found that scores on the CRAFFT screening tool were highly correlated with the other measures of substance abuse and dependence.
  • One-fourth of the participants answered "yes" to two or more of the CRAFFT screening questions, indicating a potential substance use problem.
  • The investigators concluded that the CRAFFT screening tool offers primary care providers a valid and practical means of quickly identifying adolescent patients who need more comprehensive assessment or referral to substance abuse treatment.