Treatment Research Institute Receives $3 Million for Drug Screening, Intervention Model

The Treatment Research Institute in Philadelphia has announced a three-year, $3 million grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to develop and test a novel approach to substance abuse prevention and education for adolescents.

Working with clinical partner Phoenix House Foundation, TRI aims to implement and evaluate a new screening and treatment model in several New York high schools. The Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) program will use a unique, computerized screening tool that uses gaming-quality graphics and videos to engage more than two thousand adolescents, inform them about the potential dangers of alcohol and other substances, and screen them for at-risk behaviors. The screening is followed by a voluntary, brief motivational counseling session to check on students, address their stresses, and reinforce positive health decisions.

Through the collaborative efforts of TRI and Phoenix House, with guidance provided by the NYSBIRT Policy Advisory Committee, the project's ultimate goal is to build a sustainable model that can be replicated in other schools while expanding reimbursement capabilities in school settings.

"Substance use disorders wreak havoc in the lives of far too many families across the country and contribute to many of our communities' most difficult problems, including homelessness, incarceration, and unemployment," said Hilton Foundation president and CEO Steven M. Hilton. "We know youth are particularly vulnerable to the harms associated with substance misuse, and if we can prevent them from using or intervene early it is unlikely they will develop a substance use disorder. This is why the foundation has made prevention of adolescent substance use a major funding priority. We believe that this project has the potential to lay the groundwork to change the way in which prevention and early intervention is delivered in this country."