Why focus on primary care settings?
The vast majority of youth have some engagement with a primary care setting, making it a promising venue for early screening and prevention for substance use. Over 98 percent of adolescents have a regular health care provider, and nearly 93 percent have had a well-child visit in the last year. Well child visits provide an opportunity for primary care providers to ask specific questions about substance use in the household and other risk factors.
Primary care providers can also offer a trusted and destigmatizing forum for the discussion of substance use. Youth deserve messages that are effective and clear, and primary care providers are seen as trusted messengers. Families generally perceive primary care as a less stigmatizing place to receive services. Parents and caregivers generally believe it is appropriate for pediatricians to ask about substance use in the household.