Description: This is an all-inclusive manual for clinicians on preventing, identifying, managing, and otherwise treating adolescent substance use.
Purpose: The goal appears to be educating practitioners who will work with adolescents in order to manage their substance use problems. The book does a good job of introducing use of substances by adolescents, what substances are being used, how common substance use is, and how to generally manage it. By no means is it a comprehensive manual on substance use in adolescents, which is somewhat disappointing. It thoroughly discusses individual substances, and provides extensive information about treatment with respect to therapeutic interventions.
Audience: This would be a really good book for those interested in treating adolescents with substance use problems. However, the book is meant to be a resource for all mental health workers, and it doesn't meet that objective. The pharmacological chapter on managing substance use disorders is basic and does not include substances outside of the most commonly managed in the emergency room. For psychiatrists, this chapter is somewhat disappointing. For psychologists, residents, and general practitioners who will not be extensively managing adolescents with substance problems, this is a useful book. For those who want a little more depth, it may not be very useful.
Features: The book has a sound introduction to the prevalence and use of substances, and a discussion of how common it actually is in teens. It makes an effort to discuss illicit substances, but also covers over-the-counter drugs and FDA scheduling of them. It has a great table on drug screens, in addition to stating how long all these substances stay in the body. The authors make a good effort to clarify duration of time that these substances can be detected by screening. The chapter on adolescent substance use and ADHD is useful to generally everybody. The best portion of the book is its discussion of therapeutic interventions that are useful in managing adolescent substance use, which include inpatient and outpatient options, residential options, and family therapy, and recognizes the importance of family involvement in decreasing substance use. Conversely, the book is not an extensive resource. It doesn't address specific pharmacological options that could be used in managing more than just the main couple of substance addictions. It also doesn't explore the neurobiology of substance addiction and what makes particular substances so addictive. Although family therapy is covered, there is no discussion of parents and adolescents who use together or of modeling behavior of parents who use substances (for example, marijuana and alcohol). There is minimal discussion of polysubstance addiction, and there isn't much on the practicalities of managing substance use patients with respect to co-occurring depression and other mood disorders.
Assessment: Overall, this is a good starter reference, but it needs more practical information for psychiatrists on management of adolescent substance use. As a trainee, I don't think I'd buy it because of the lack of this information.