Brief substance use prevention interventions have several advantages over evidence-based programs that are lengthier or more complicated.
For example brief prevention interventions are efficient, cost-effective, and hold potential to reach large proportions of young people: https://preventionpluswellness.com/blogs/news/3-advantages-of-brief-substance-use-prevention-programs
While there are a host of brief programs to prevent substance use and misuse, which one’s are evidence-based?
To answer this question, we turned to Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development.
Blueprints is a registry of evidence-based interventions that “…are effective in reducing antisocial behavior and promoting a healthy course of youth development and adult maturity.”: https://www.blueprintsprograms.org/about/
The registry has interactive search capabilities permitting prevention and health providers the opportunity to identify Blueprints-certified interventions based on a wide-range of criteria, including program outcomes, target population, program specifics, and risk and protective factors.
To identify effective brief substance use prevention interventions, a search was conducted using the program outcomes criteria titled “problem behavior.”
All the available substance use items, including “alcohol,” “illicit drugs,” “marijuana/cannabis,” and “tobacco” were ticked off for the search. In addition, the term “brief” was added to the keyword search option.
The results of the search identified 10 programs. Of these, four were self-described as brief in duration.
4 Brief Evidence-Based Substance Use Prevention Programs
The four brief substance use prevention interventions included:
- Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS)
- Cannabis eCHECKUP TO GO
- InShape Prevention Plus Wellness (PPW)
- SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness (PPW)
The first three programs are designed for college-aged young adults, while the later, SPORT PPW is for adolescents. The first two programs focus on specific substances (i.e., alcohol and cannabis) whereas both InShape PPW and SPORT PPW are multi-health behavior interventions that target alcohol and drug use as well as improving physical activity, healthy eating, sleep, and stress control.
Cannabis eCHECKUP TO GO is an online program whereas BASICS is provided in-person. Both InShape PPW and SPORT PPW can be provided in-person as well as live online.
All four programs are provided to individuals while InShape PPW and SPORT PPW can also be provided to groups of individuals.
According to Blueprints, BASICS is a brief motivational intervention for high-risk college students that uses alcohol screening and feedback to reduce problem, excessive, and binge drinking by enhancing motivation to change, promoting healthier choices, reviewing myths and facts about alcohol, and teaching coping skills to moderate drinking.
BASICS is designed to help students make better alcohol-use decisions based on a clear understanding of the genuine risks associated with problem drinking, enhanced motivation to change, and the development of skills to moderate drinking. The program is conducted over the course of two brief interviews that prompt students to change their drinking patterns.
Blueprints states that Cannabis eCHECKUP TO GO is a brief, web-based personalized feedback program that aims to reduce the harms associated with cannabis use in college students by increasing protective behavioral strategies and correcting misperceived norms for cannabis use.
After completing a web-based baseline assessment on demographic measures, cannabis consumption, cannabis consequences and perceived social norms, intervention participants receive standard personalized feedback on their cannabis use, information on their perceptions of cannabis use norms versus actual use prevalence at their university and nationally, and a list of change strategies related to cannabis use (i.e., protective behavioral strategies), all delivered in a manner consistent with Motivational Interviewing.
According to Blueprints, InShape Prevention Plus Wellness (PPW) is a brief prevention program to improve physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of college students by connecting positive health habits and images with the avoidance of risky alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and other drug use.
InShape PPW emphasizes the positive image benefits of setting goals to increase physical activity and exercise, healthy eating, sleep, and stress management, while avoiding alcohol, cigarette and illicit drug use to achieve and maintain a fit and active lifestyle. The main program components include a self-administered behavior image survey, a brief talk about fitness and health with a designated Fitness Specialist, and a set of fitness recommendations and goal plan to improve fitness behaviors and future image.
Blueprints states that SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness (PPW) is a health promotion program that highlights the positive image benefits of an active lifestyle to reduce the use of alcohol, tobacco and drug use by high school students in addition to improving their overall physical health.
SPORT content highlights the positive image benefits of an active lifestyle by showing youth as active and fit and emphasizes substance abuse as counterproductive to achieving positive image and behavior goals. The program consists of an in-person health behavior screen, a one-on-one consultation with the teens, a take-home fitness prescription targeting adolescent health promoting behaviors and alcohol use along with its risk and protective factors, and a flyer reinforcing key content of the consultation mailed to the home. T
Brief substance use prevention interventions are efficient, cost-effective, and have the potential to reach large proportions of youth. These advantages make brief interventions an invaluable resource prevention and health providers.
We found four evidence-based brief prevention interventions searching the Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development registry.
These four prevention programs can be use alone or in combination with other evidence-based strategies to effectively prevent harm and promote the wellbeing among youth and young adults.