Innovative Primary Care Models for Addressing Substance Use Win $25,000 Prizes


Winners of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) “Substance Use Prevention Services in Primary Care” Challenge were recently announced. The initiative, which launched in February 2023, sought creative and actionable ideas for how primary care can more effectively identify people at risk for, and subsequently prevent, substance use initiation and escalation. Three plans, each focusing on an underserved population in need of prevention services, were selected from thirty submissions to receive a $25,000 prize. The winning submissions included:

  • University of Arizona Colleges of Nursing and Social and Behavioral Sciences—Community Health Worker-led Substance Use Prevention Model for Recently Incarcerated Persons: This proposed project aims to provide substance use screening and prevention services (or referral to those services) for recently incarcerated adults who are on probation in a rural, southeastern Arizona county. Five primary care practices in the county will lead this initiative. For more information, check out the project overview
  • Yale Schools of Medicine and Public Health and Fair Haven Community Health Care—Making Substance Use Prevention as Easy as Vaccination! Leveraging Machine Learning to Deliver Personalized Substance Use Prevention Interventions in Primary Care: This proposed project aims to identify patients in a large pediatric clinic at risk for substance use initiation using a novel machine learning algorithm, followed by personalized substance use prevention interventions. This project builds on the success of a similar program aimed at increasing human papillomavirus vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, check out the project overview
  • University of Vermont and HealthCentric Advisors—Clinical Screening and Peer Interventions to Prevent Substance Use in At-Risk Adolescents: This proposed project aims to use quarterly follow-up visits for adolescents with depression, anxiety, and ADHD, to screen for substance use and deliver brief prevention interventions. These interventions combine evidence-based drug-refusal skills and peer-led intervention in a series of video modules on avoiding substance use. For more information, check out the project overview

For more information on this topic, the Academy offers a robust collection of substance use tools and resources for providers, staff and patients who offer or use these services.