Alcohol, drug use and co-morbidity

Alfredo Gutierrez, Leo Sher

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Alcohol and drug use continues to be a significant global problem with many health and economic consequences. Multiple studies have shown that the majority of adults who end up with an alcohol/drug use disorder have their first contact with substances as adolescents. This chapter aims to briefly summarize current prevalence and impact on society, as well as its etiology, comorbid psychiatric disorders and treatment and prevention of adolescent drug and alcohol use. Alcohol and substance use impacts both the user and society at large, from health risks to the user, to increased early pregnancies, car accidents, financial cost, and productivity cost. Substance use and abuse results from an intricate interaction between genetic and environmental influences. Also, substance abuse along with a comorbid psychiatric disorder is more common than a solitary substance use disorder in adolescents. Current options for the treatment of substance abuse disorders range from various therapy based strategies, including behavioral and family-based therapies, to the use of medications. More attention must be placed on importance of prevention of use as well as progression of use to dependence. Successful prevention requires a comprehensive plan which needs to include, but should not be limited to, increasing education of all gate keepers and limiting access of substances and alcohol, through policy and reinforcement of those policies. Education of parents, pediatricians, school nurses, teachers, and mental health workers, is essential to ensure that children at risk are identified in time to provide appropriate interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationForensic Psychiatry
Subtitle of host publicationA Public Health Perspective
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781634833462
ISBN (Print)9781634833394
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2015


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