Findings from a Canadian study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry have suggested that a two-year intervention programme with disruptive young children can help prevent substance use in adolescence.

Alcohol and drug use are highly prevalent and problematic among young people, and the link between childhood behaviour problems and adolescent substance misuse is well-recognised (See Understanding conduct disorder, Page 33).

In the Montreal-based study, 172 boys, from low socio-economic backgrounds and exhibiting disruptive behaviour, participated in the study along with their parents. Of these, 46 took part in a twoyear intervention programme, involving social skills training for the children, as well as parent training to help parents recognise problematic behaviours in their boys, set clear objectives and reinforce appropriate behaviours."The remaining 84 boys were assigned to an intensive observation group.

At follow-up at the age of 17, levels of drug and alcohol use were found to be lower in those boys who received the intervention – and continued to reduce throughout the adolescent years. Lead researcher Natalie Castellanos- Ryan, commented: “This finding is noteworthy because the effects are stronger and longer-lasting than for most substance use interventions that have been studied before.”

REFERENCE

Castellanos-Ryan N, et al. BJP"published ahead of print"August 8, 013,doi:10.1192/bjp. bp.112.123182

* A separate study has shown that the use of “atypical” antipsychotics in children and young adults with behavioural problems or mood disorders is associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes. According to the retrospective study, involving over 43,000 children and published in JAMA Psychiatry, young people treated with medications like risperidone, quetiapine, aripiprazol and olanzapine demonstrated a threefold increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes within the !rst year of taking the drug.