While substance misuse by adolescents in the UK has declined over the last decade, the UK continues to have some of the highest rates of alcohol and drug use in Europe. Many young people will try smoking and drinking alcohol during their adolescence and a significant minority will misuse alcohol and illicit drugs. This behaviour remains a significant cause for concern owing to its associated risks to the health and wellbeing of adolescents. Guidance is emerging regarding good practice in the assessment and management of adolescent substance misuse. Paediatricians may encounter substance-misusing adolescents in a variety of clinical settings and can play a valuable role in the screening, management and support of this group of young people.
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