Recent developments in healthcare law support primary care-based intervention to prevent substance use disorder (SUD) and related behavior problems. However, evidence-based programs designed specifically for healthcare settings are lacking. This proposal is to test the effectiveness of integrating and adapting two NIDA- funded procedures for use in primary care pediatric clinics serving low-income youth: 1) the Urgency Indicator (UI) - a nurse-administered screening tool for high risk of substance use (SU) prior to high school and thus also for SUD and 2) the Family Check-Up (FCU) - a brief, family-based program to prevent SU/SUD with replicated efficacy. Recent American Academy of Pediatrics policy calls for this type of approach for preventing SU/SUD and outlines six barriers that have precluded a screening and referral-to-treatment approach for SU prevention in primary care. The UI/FCU integrated program addresses all six barriers. The UI/FCU approach has been rated in preliminary research during well-child check-ups with enthusiasm by youth patients, their parents and their physicians. The UI and FCU are currently being used in ongoing, albeit parallel, studies with the pediatrician collaborators of this proposal, but they have yet to be integrated within the same project. The following three aims focus on evaluating and refining the adaptation of the UI/FCU program for primary-care use: 1) to replicate the effectiveness of the UI screening tool in terms of concurrent and predictive validity and the engagement rate in the FCU; 2) to identify and address challenges in implementing and integrating the UI/FCU prevention strategy within a primary care clinic serving urban, low-income youth; and 3) to test the effectiveness of the UI/FCU on emerging SU, sexual activity, and conduct problems, as well as the putative mediators of these outcomes including parenting and parental well-being. Based on prior FCU efficacy studies, 500 dyads of parents and their 10- to 13-year-old children from low-income, ethnically diverse families will be recruited from a large primary care clinic in an urban community. This sample affords statistical power for effectiveness testing even in subgroups (e.g., age, gender, and race). The FCU will be delivered for two or three years to test impact of dosage. Participants will be followed-up one year after completing FCU to evaluate longitudinal outcomes of the integrated UI/FCU. In addition to traditional effectiveness estimates, analyses will test for mediators and moderators of UI/FCU outcomes as well as whether pre-intervention within-person variability in risk factors (in addition to baseline scores) forecast outcomes. This approach represents a critical step toward a transformational advance in SU/SUD prevention by delivering intervention from pediatric primary care which meets a need identified by that profession, offers fiscal self-sustainability, provides infrastructure for dissemination, ascertains multiple informants (child and parent) for yearly patient monitoring, and serves as a venue for individualized intervention.

Public Health Relevance

Recent federal laws and medical profession policies petition for healthcare-based prevention and treatment of substance use (SU) and related disorders. This application is to test the efficacy of integrating two evidence- based approaches for 10- to 13-year-olds, a screening tool (Urgency Indicator) with a brief SU prevention program (Family Check-Up), into primary care to create a transformative intervention that follows the Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment healthcare model. It is hoped that this innovative approach will lead to widespread dissemination of a low-cost, fiscally self-sustaining, and effective SU/SUD prevention program which resembles successful healthcare-based prevention programs for younger ages.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Risk, Prevention and Intervention for Addictions Study Section (RPIA)
Program Officer
Sims, Belinda E
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Research Triangle Institute
Research Triangle
United States
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Halliburton, Amanda E; Ridenour, Ty A; White, Bradley A et al. (2017) Clinically differentiating life-course-persistent and adolescence-limited conduct problems: Is age-of-onset really enough? J Appl Dev Psychol 52:34-45
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Ridenour, Ty A; Willis, David; Bogen, Debra L et al. (2015) Detecting initiation or risk for initiation of substance use before high school during pediatric well-child check-ups. Drug Alcohol Depend 150:54-62
Shaw, Daniel S; Shelleby, Elizabeth C (2014) Early-starting conduct problems: intersection of conduct problems and poverty. Annu Rev Clin Psychol 10:503-28