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Keywords:

  • trauma;
  • alcohol testing;
  • drug testing;
  • adolescent;
  • race;
  • ethnicity

Abstract

Objectives: To describe the incidence of alcohol and drug testing in adolescents admitted for traumatic injury and to analyze these results with reference to race, ethnicity, and gender differences. Methods: Data were collected on adolescents (aged 12 through 17 years) from the National Trauma Data Bank. Testing statuses for alcohol and drugs were the two primary outcome variables. The results of these tests were the secondary outcome variables. Additional casemix variables included: race, ethnicity, gender, age, Glasgow Coma Scale score, Injury Severity Score, day and time of arrival, and payment source. Hierarchical, multivariable logistic regression models were used to assess the relationship of race, ethnicity, and gender with the primary and secondary outcome variables. Results: Differences noted in the likelihood of alcohol and drug testing among the different racial, ethnic, and gender groups demonstrated an increased likelihood of Hispanic males and African American females to receive alcohol testing (odds ratio [OR]: 1.48; 95% CI = 1.06 to 2.06; and OR: 1.30; 95% CI = 1.01 to 1.67, respectively). Results of testing revealed that females of all races were less likely than males to test positive for alcohol and drugs. Drug and alcohol testing was more common during evenings, nights, and weekends, as well as in the presence of neurologic injury. Conclusions: Whereas small disparities in alcohol and drug testing were noted in some minority race-based groupings, systematic racial bias is not evident in adolescent trauma patients.