Special Projects Fund

Project Title

Developing Sustainable Screening and Brief Intervention Programs for Substance Use Disorders in Emergency Departments in New York State

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Special Projects Fund

Date Awarded

October 21, 2009








New York State estimates that one out of every 10 New Yorkers aged 12 or older suffer from substance use disorders annually, with less than 15% receiving treatment.

The societal burdens of untreated substance use disorders include increased health care costs, crime, and child welfare problems; and reduced educational attainment among New Yorkers. The National Center of Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) developed model screening and brief intervention (SBI) programs for alcohol and other drug problems that can be used in emergency departments in New York State.

In partnership with a statewide workgroup, CASA engaged in an extensive literature review to ascertain best practices and evaluate existing SBI in emergency department implementation models. Using strategies from Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI), CASA identified and assisted two county-level groups comprising county health departments, local hospitals, and relevant professional organizations in adopting these evidence-based practices.

In addition to the development and implementation of model SBI programs, NYHealth funds enabled CASA to develop materials and strategies for the State to roll out SBI to all emergency departments. The potential statewide public health impact of this project is substantial. Not only would SBI in emergency departments extend the State’s ability to intervene with individuals posing public and personal health risks due to substance use, studies also suggest that SBI in emergency departments can produce savings in averted health care costs.