Original Publication
Open Access

Teen Substance Abuse Problem Based Learning (PBL)

Published: December 13, 2009 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.263

Included in this publication:

  • Teen Substance Abuse PBL Learner Sheets.doc
  • Teen Substance Abuse PBL Facilitator's Guide.doc
  • Teen Substance Abuse PBL Handout.doc

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Editor's Note: This publication predates our implementation of the Educational Summary Report in 2016 and thus displays a different format than newer publications.


Introduction: Managing an adolescent patient with substance use and abuse is complex especially when parents are involved. We created this problem-based learning (PBL) exercise to facilitate teaching about substance use and abuse in an adolescent during a 1-hour rounds-type format within a clinical curriculum. Methods: This resource contains a facilitator guide that outlines the case and provides question prompts which may be used to guide the students’ experience of the case. A learner version of the case and a handout containing useful reference information are also provided. This group works through each page followed by a very short summary of the learning points that are on the facilitator copy. It is important that the facilitator has a basic understanding of talking with adolescents and is comfortable with the PBL format. Results: This case has been used multiple times. No formal studies have been done, but it has been used multiple times with a pediatric inpatient team made up of multiple levels of learners. Informal feedback has been uniformly positive supporting that the case is realistic, useful, and practical. Discussion: This case is appropriate for both undergraduate and graduate medical education settings and has been successful when utilized with a pediatric inpatient team made up of multiple levels of learners. While used in a rounds-type format it can be adapted to other PBL or case-based formats.

Educational Objectives

By the end of this module, learners will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate how to obtain a drug and alcohol history.
  2. Define drug abuse, addiction, and tolerance.
  3. Formulate plan to help patient with drug abuse.
  4. Understand basics of modern substance abuse theory.

Author Information

  • Maurice Clifton, MD, MSEd: University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

None to report.

None to report.


Clifton M. Teen substance abuse problem based learning (PBL). MedEdPORTAL. 2009;5:263. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.263