Adolescent Substance Abuse Prevention

Opiate overdoses in Massachusetts rose by 90% from 2000 to 2012. People are using at higher rates, and they’re starting at an earlier age. The younger an individual is the first time they use alcohol or drugs, the more likely they are to struggle with addiction later in life. The Children’s Mental Health Campaign has launched the Addiction Free Futures Project to expand prevention and early intervention of unhealthy substance use by youth. This effort combines cost-effective screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment with the power of consumer-led advocacy.   

Massachusetts is one of five states selected to take part in the national initiative run by Community Catalyst, a national nonprofit advocacy organization based in Boston, and supported by a $2.5 million grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, which will be paired with $1.7 million from other sources. The work in Massachusetts is also supported by a grant from The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation. The other four states are Georgia, New Jersey, Ohio and Wisconsin. 

This innovative new project aims to expand efforts developed and tested by Boston Children's Hospital, Boston University/Boston Medical Center, and the Department of Public Health by improving insurance coverage for early screening and intervention services, increasing the number and types of locations where youth can access those services, and boosting the number and type of professionals who can conduct screening and brief intervention. The project will be a multifaceted public campaign, bringing together experts and a variety of advocates that care about this issue. Partners will include youth organizations, parent groups, teachers, the recovery community, faith groups and health care providers.

The project leadership team includes adults and youth from MSPCC, PPAL, Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery (MOAR), Learn to Cope, Massachusetts Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment - Training & Technical Assistance (MASBIRT-TTA), Heath Care for All, Hope Coalition of Worcester (Healthy Options for Prevention and Education), Students Against Destructive Decisions, Massachusetts Chapter (SADD), and Recovery Inc./Justice Resource Institute.  

Please stay tuned for opportunities to get involved in this exciting work. For more information, please contact Courtney Chelo at cchelo@mspcc.org.