By Barbara Goodheart, ELS
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has launched two online screening tools—BSTAD and S2BI—to assess the risk of substance use disorder in adolescents aged 12-17—and the timing couldn’t be better.
With the introduction and expected passage of the Youth Opioid Use Treatment Help (YOUTH) Act, practitioners who treat adolescents will welcome evidence-based, scientifically validated tools that provide a diagnostic assessment in less than two minutes, and open the door to treatment for those who need it.
BSTAD—The Brief Screener for Alcohol, Tobacco, and other Drugs, is easy for patients to self-administer, and S2BI—Screening to Brief Intervention—is administered by providers, using a tablet or computer. NIDA’s website encourages clinicians to consider using the self-administration option—BSTAD—to save time.
Both BSTAD and S2BI question patients about the frequency of substance use during the previous year, then triage patients into one of three risk levels: no reported use, lower risk, and higher risk.
When used in pediatric primary care settings, both diagnostic tools have been shown to accurately identify adolescents with and without substance use disorders. Both are available for use without charge.
Screening May Help Open the Door to MAT
Screening has many advantages, but here’s the most important one: By quickly identifying young people who need help, screening opens the door to appropriate treatment—either brief intervention, or referral for treatment programs, such as medication-assisted treatment (MAT). If, as anticipated, the YOUTH Act passes, funds will become available to provide MAT for young patients who need treatment—medication and counseling—to have a chance for a normal life.
Adolescence often is the time when substance problems begin—but it’s also when problems respond best to treatment. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend screening all adolescents for substance use. The new online tools, BSTAD and S2BI, will provide practitioners with handy, time-saving ways to do just that.
NIDA. 2017, November 1. NIDA launches two adolescent substance use screening tools. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2017/11/nida-launches-two-adolescent-substance-use-screening-tools. December 15, 2017.