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(p. 261) Emerging Issues in the Emerging Adult Substance Use Field 

(p. 261) Emerging Issues in the Emerging Adult Substance Use Field
(p. 261) Emerging Issues in the Emerging Adult Substance Use Field

Douglas C. Smith

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date: 25 June 2021

Nearly two decades of research exist that use emerging adulthood as an organizing developmental construct to describe individuals ages 18–29. Yet, much remains to be learned regarding how to best provide effective substance use disorder prevention and treatment services to this population. This chapter argues that emerging adults should be considered a special population worthy of additional research and clinical program development efforts. Additionally, it provides one clinical scientist’s views on priority research and clinical practice areas that may improve substance use disorder treatment and prevention services to emerging adults. These priority research areas include increasing access and retention of emerging adults in substance use treatment, improving the diagnostic classification of substance use problems with emerging adults, monitoring macro-level trends with marijuana and opiate use among emerging adults, and gaining a better understanding of whether developmental constructs thought to be unique to emerging adults predict the onset, course, or treatment response of substance use disorders.

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