Adolescent Substance Abuse Screening

Wesley W. Lynch, Walden University


Adolescent substance use is a key public health problem in rural Ohio. Primary care nurses lack substance use screening knowledge and skills. Early screening and detection of possible substance use issues aids in directing patients to appropriate health services. This project involved the implementation of an educational intervention on the CRAFFT screening tool for primary care nurses in rural Ohio. Guided by Kurt Lewin's 3-step model to emphasize prevalence of substance use and need for screening among adolescents, the purpose of this project was to provide training on the CRAFFT screening approach and share guidelines to implement routine substance abuse screening for adolescents seen in this rural primary healthcare setting. The project, based on a pretest and posttest design, was implemented among a sample of 7 nurses to evaluate whether the educational intervention had a significant impact on nurses' knowledge on using the CRAFFT screening tool. Data were collected using a questionnaire and were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The results showed a significant increase in the pretest scores (M =51.43, SD = 19.51) and the posttest score (M =94.29, SD = 7.868); t(6)=7.039, p = .000). The project findings support that the benefit of this educational intervention to improve the nurses' substance use screening knowledge using a lunchtime educational training to ensure that vulnerable adolescent patients with substance use receive early and appropriate preventive and treatment measures. For positive social change, early identification of substance use among adolescents may inform the adoption of preventive and treatment measures such as referral to mental health specialists, thereby improving adolescent health outcomes.