Brief Alcohol and Drug Interventions with At-Risk Youth

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Principal Investigator: Elizabeth D'Amico

Interventions for at-risk youth who report alcohol and other drug (AOD) use may reduce consequences by decreasing use before more intensive treatment is required. One approach that has demonstrated particular promise with youth of different ages and races/ethnicities is motivational interviewing (MI). Dr. D’Amico’s research is focused on reaching youth age 12-18 using MI interventions in different settings, including schools, primary care, homeless shelters, teen court, and with Native American youth. Her after-school program, CHOICE, is a group MI intervention targeting middle school youth. In a large randomized controlled trial with 16 schools, she found that not only did youth who attended CHOICE report lower alcohol initiation rates, but also that CHOICE schools reported lower use rates across the whole school. Her MI interventions with at-risk youth in primary care and teen court show that youth who receive these interventions report less alcohol and marijuana use and lower recidivism rates. She currently has four grants examining the efficacy of group and individual MI interventions with youth, a pending R01 to assess the effects of group MI and traditional healing on AOD use among urban Native American youth, and a pending R34 to evaluate group MI with homeless adolescents.