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(p. 1) Why Should We Focus on Emerging Adults with Substance Use Disorders? 

(p. 1) Why Should We Focus on Emerging Adults with Substance Use Disorders?
(p. 1) Why Should We Focus on Emerging Adults with Substance Use Disorders?

Douglas C. Smith

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date: 25 June 2021

Emerging adulthood (roughly ages 18–29) is the lifespan period when the peak prevalence of substance use disorders (SUD) and substance use occurs. Opportunities for prevention and intervention abound during these years. This chapter provides a brief introduction to the concept of emerging adulthood, as well as a laundry list of terms used to describe problematic substance use. The chapter argues that we must be mindful of using person-first language and, based on available stigma research, advocates for use of the term substance use disorder. The chapter then presents a strong rationale for creating more developmentally appropriate treatments for emerging adults. This rationale is based on three pillars: (1) emerging adults’ current underrepresentation in large outcome studies, (2) existing disparities in treatment outcomes between emerging adults and individuals in other age groups, and (3) the possibility of expanded substance use treatment access under healthcare reform.

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