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National Treatment Center Study
Reports Presentations Info for Participants Links SOC 3860 AHSR 2007

Service Delivery and Use of Evidence-Based Treatment Practices in Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment Settings

Adolescent substance abuse, including illegal drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, is a major public health problem in the US. Given the unique needs of substance-abusing adolescents, substance abuse treatment programs have been developed to serve this population. To date, there is little nationally representative data on the services delivered within the adolescent treatment system. It is unknown the extent to which these programs provide evidence-based, high-quality treatment programming. Furthermore, it is unclear if the availability of such programming varies by state-level policies and organizational characteristics.

This project addresses these issues through four research objectives:

1) describe the structure of adolescent substance abuse treatment in publicly and privately funded specialty substance abuse treatment facilities

2) measure the adoption and implementation of evidence-based and high-quality treatment practices

3) estimate the associations between state-level policies, state funding, services offered, and adoption of innovations

4) examine the organizational factors associated with patterns of service delivery and innovation adoption.

The project uses a quantitative, cross-sectional design to address the four aims. Telephone interviews are being conducted with adolescent treatment program managers at approximately 361 community-based substance abuse treatment centers in the US. These centers represent adolescent treatment providers in existing nationally representative random samples of publicly funded and privately funded substance abuse treatment centers. Interviews include measures of:

1) program structure (levels of care, lengths of stay)

2) nine dimensions of effective adolescent treatment(assessment and treatment matching; a comprehensive treatment; family involvement; developmentally appropriate programming; strategies to engage and retain adolescents; the hiring of qualified staff; gender and cultural competence; continuing care; and program evaluations of treatment outcomes)

3) specific psycho-social (e.g. motivational enhancement therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, 12-step approaches) and family based interventions (e.g. multidimensional family therapy, brief strategic family therapy)

4) comprehensive wraparound services (including psychiatric services, HIV/AIDS prevention/intervention)

5) state policies and funding of adolescent treatment.

This research addresses major gaps in the existing knowledge base regarding adolescent substance abuse treatment in the US. The collection of this data is critical for policymaking, since the policymakers must know the current "state of the field" if they want to design policies that can improve quality and access to adolescent treatment.

Principal Investigator: Hannah K. Knudsen
Funding Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Funding Period: June 2005 - May 2007

Related Resources:

The University of Georgia Franklin College Institute for Behavioral Research Website Contact