Social Work Professor Eric Wagner wins funding to help decrease Substance Use Problems

media_ericwagnerDr. Eric F. Wagner, Professor in the School of Social Work, has received a continuation award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in the amount of $575,598 for his project entitled “Brief Intervention for Substance Using Native Youth.”  The project involves a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of school-based, brief motivational intervention (MI) for substance using, Native American 9th, 10th, & 11th graders (n = 480) in Oklahoma.  The RCT compares the effectiveness of three intervention conditions: (1) brief advice and a personalized feedback report alone, (2) brief advice, a personalized feedback report, and MI, and (3) brief advice, a personalized feedback report, MI, and a 6-months post intervention booster session.  The project’s co-PI is Dr. John Lowe of Florida Atlantic University; Dr. Lowe is a Cherokee Native American Indian tribal member and one of only 17 doctoral prepared Native American nurses in the United States.  The project involves partnerships with public schools in Adair and Le Flore counties, the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

Native American teenagers are at particularly high risk for substance use and substance use problems compared to teenagers from any other racial/ethnic group. The study is significant because: (1) MI has proven to be effective in reducing substance use among college-aged and older populations; MI’s effectiveness for younger populations, and especially general population high school students, has received scant research attention, and remains unknown; (2) little is known about efficacy of any type of drug or alcohol intervention with Native American youth; (3) studies of MI with adolescents suggest treatment effects decay over time; the addition of a booster session may extend MI effects, and the proposed study would be among the first RCTs of MI to evaluate the value added by a booster session; and (4) of the need to examine the impact of Native American cultural factors on treatment process and treatment outcome for empirically supported therapies, in this case MI.

Author: William-Jose Velez

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