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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

University at Buffalo: Youth Drug Use Trends Will Compel Primary Care Physicians to Keep Up

The times are changing, and so are drug and alcohol use trends among American youth.

These shifts in illicit substance use will compel primary care physicians to monitor new products and how they are used, two University at Buffalo researchers write in this month’s issue of American Family Physician.

“It is important to improve our understanding of adolescent substance use in order to better address the health needs and risk factors in this vulnerable population,” said Dr. Jessica Kulak, the paper’s lead author.

Treatment for Substance Use Disorder has traditionally been provided by a specialist, or someone outside of the primary care setting.

“Integration of care services may help to change societal norms around substance use – both by decreasing stigma associated with substance use, as well as increasing physicians’ preparedness, knowledge and confidence in preventing and intervening on patients’ substance experimentation and use,” Dr. Kulak said.

Dr. Kulak is now an assistant professor in the Department of Health, Nutrition and Dietetics at SUNY Buffalo State. She wrote the paper when she was a postdoctorate fellow at the Primary Care Research Institute in the Department of Family Medicine, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB. Dr. Kulak received her doctorate in community health and health behavior from University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions.

The types of illicit substances that American youth are using have changed drastically over the past decade, with decreases in alcohol use, including binge drinking, being offset by increases in e-cigarettes, marijuana and opioids.

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