ADOLESCENCE AND SUSBSTANCE ABUSE

Joana Cachão, Inês Oliveira, Isabel Raminhos

Abstract


Background: Adolescence is a time of great changes for young people when new sensations and experiences are sought and thus opening the door for psychoactive substance use and abuse. Self-induced intoxication is a recurrent cause of admission in emergency department units amongst adolescents.

Objective: This study aims to characterize the sample of adolescents who presented to a pediatric emergency department with self-induced poisoning from July 2011 to June 2015, after the widening of attendance age in the pediatric care units.

Methods: A descriptive retrospective study was conducted and data was collected from medical computerized records of adolescents admitted to the pediatric emergency department with self-induced intoxication. Analysis were performed to describe demographic variables, substance profile, precipitant/ motivation, relevant medical history, treatment received in the emergency department and follow-up.

Results: Participants comprised 246 adolescents representing 0,64% of the overall adolescent admissions in the pediatric emergency department during that period. The majority of patients aged 15 to 17 years (77,2%). Alcohol and drug intoxication had similar frequencies (40,2% and 39,8% respectively). Drug intoxication was significantly more frequent in females (p = 0,000). Of the total number of adolescents, 28,5% were already attending a specialist outpatient clinic (Adolescent Medicine, Psychology and/or Child Psychiatry or Psychiatry), 27,2% were referred to ambulatory care and 44,3% were not referred to any other physician.

Conclusions: The enlargement of pediatric age care generated a greater contact with risky behaviors. Prevention is very important and it is urgent to design intervention strategies committing the family and society in general.


Keywords


Adolescent; alcoholic intoxication; emergency medicine

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