Alcohol & Drug Screening for Young Trauma Patients

Researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School found that of the 443 hospitalized trauma patients age 14-17 who were screened for substance use, 40% tested positive.

Twenty-nine percent of the positive tests were for opiates such as opium or heroin, 20% were for cannabis (marijuana), and 11% were for alcohol. There were no sex differences for opiate, cannabis or alcohol use.

The authors suggest that all young hospitalized trauma patients should be tested for substance use and that brief alcohol and drug abuse intervention programs should be offered to those who test positive.


  • Peter F. Ehrlich, Peter F., Joanna K. Brown, Joanna K., and Robert Drongowski , Robert. Characterization of the drug-positive adolescent trauma population: should we, do we, and does it make a difference if we test? Journal of Pediatric Surgery, 2006, 41(5), 927-930.