Adolescent Substance Use & Addiction Program | Research & Innovation

Overview

In addition to providing expert evaluation and care for adolescents with substance use problems and disorders, ASAP is home to a thriving research program that aims to find ways to prevent or decrease substance use and associated problems. Our goal is to create improved supports for adolescents, families, and the providers that care for them.

Currently funded ASAP research projects

“Adolescent Vaping Support Group” 

  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation
  • Project Directors: Leslie Green, MSW, LICSW/Sharon Levy, MD, MPH
  • Evaluator: Elissa Weitzman, ScD, MSc
  • The current goals of this project are to conduct key informant interviews with current patients being treated for nicotine vaping in the Adolescent Substance Use and Addiction Program (ASAP) in order to inform the development of a vaping group therapy curriculum, a training manual, and protocol for counseling professionals and a companion manual for primary care providers.

“Evaluation of Adolescent Substance Use Screening Tools”

  • National Institute on Drug Abuse, Clinical Trials Network, Grant #UG1DA015831
  • PI: Sharon Levy, MD, MPH
  • The goal of this study is to test the performance (sensitivity and specificity) of three instruments (BSTAD, S2BI, TAPS) against a criterion standard of DSM-5 substance use disorder diagnoses in a population of adolescents presenting for routine primary care. Two brief screening tools (BSTAD, S2BI) that use past-year frequency of use questions to determine risk level have been developed for use with adolescents and each has been validated in a single trial. The third tool (TAPS) which includes both screen and brief assessment has been studied more extensively in adult primary care patients, though validity with adolescents is not known.

“Evaluation of SBIRT in primary care for adolescents and young adults”

  • Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Grant #18455
  • Co-PIs: Elissa Weitzman, ScD, MSc/Sharon Levy, MD, MPH
  • This project aims to collect evidence about the effects of screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) integrated care, by measuring and comparing substance use, mental health and health service use outcomes for adolescents and young adults (AYA) receiving primary care in practices with and without integrated SBIRT services.

“Modeling adjuvant responses in human blood in vitro to inform opioid vaccine development”

  • National Institute on Drug Abuse/ National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/ NIH HEAL Initiative, Grant #HHSN272201800047C
  • PI: Ofer Levy, MD, PhD, David Dowling, PhD ; Co-Is: Sharon Levy, MD, MPH/ Elissa Weitzman, ScD, MSc
  • The primary goal of this project is to develop an optimally adjuvanted fentanyl (FEN) vaccine. In order to develop an effective fentanyl vaccine, we are trying to understand the differences in immune response between a) people who have previously used opioids and people who have not used opioids, and b) people of deferring age groups than dose traditionally studied as part of pre-clinical vaccine development, such as adolescents and young adults. A second goal of this project is to conduct key informant interviews with patients, family members, and doctors in order to determine perspectives on the safety, efficacy, and likely benefits of an opioid vaccine.

“Integrating SBIRT into Pediatric Primary Care”

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Grant #1H79TI081137-01
  • Project Directors: Sharon Levy, MD, MPH/Jonas Bromberg, PsyD
  • Evaluator: Elissa Weitzman, ScD, MSc
  • The overarching goal of this project is to create new access to a full range of high quality Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) services, including medication treatment for addiction, in a statewide network of pediatric primary care practices. The Adolescent Substance Use and Addiction Program (ASAP) and the Pediatric Physicians Organization of Children’s (PPOC), which are both programs within the Children’s Hospital integrated care organization, have partnered to re-envision SBIRT in pediatric primary care. Over the next five years, we will aim to provide high quality SBIRT services to more than 33,000 AYA, including brief treatment for more than 3,100 and medication treatment for opioid use disorder for more than 100 AYA annually within 5 years by scaling the program of integrated LICSW’s into 25 pediatric practices. Each integrated practice will be staffed with an LICSW who will provide 20 hours of SBIRT clinical services per week, and supported clinically by the team of Pediatric Addiction Medicine specialists in ASAP.

“MassHEAL – Reducing overdose deaths by 40%”

  • National Institute on Drug Abuse, Boston Medical Center, Grant #UM1DA049412
  • Site PI: Sharon Levy, MD, MPH
  • The goal of this project is to reduce death by opioid overdose in the state of Massachusetts by 40%. As a subcontract on this we will provide guidance and training in the integration of SUD treatment services into pediatric primary care across the state.

“Evaluation of SBIRT in MA Public Schools”

  • The Tower Foundation, Grant #HC-1706-04372
  • Co-PIs: Elissa Weitzman, ScD, MSc/ Sharon Levy, MD, MPH
  • The primary goal of this project is to evaluate a state policy which mandates Massachusetts schools to deliver Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) to middle and high school students. Data collection will occur through anonymous student surveys administered in all participating schools and grades pre- and post-screening intervention. The project aims to evaluate the impact of school SBIRT on health and behavioral outcomes among adolescents through case-control comparison of schools. We will also conduct a brief phone interview with the school leader(s) of the SBIRT program, pre- and post- implementation, to outline and evaluate the implementation model.

“Validating Adolescent SBIRT Measures”

  • Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Grant #20140273
  • Co-PIs: Elissa Weitzman, ScD, MSc/ Sharon Levy, MD, MPH
  • The goals of this project are to validate a set of measures to support the study of brief interventions in primary care, and to develop a prototype brief intervention to prevent alcohol and cannabis use in adolescents with type 1 diabetes, rheumatic diseases, and inflammatory bowel disease.