According to the most recent available data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, New Hampshire ranks first in the U.S. for illicit drug use by 18 to 25 year olds. It’s one of the first states to have more deaths from overdoses than traffic accidents.
One factor that has exacerbated the problem is that less than 6 percent of those who need drug treatment are able to get it. Even identifying who needs drug treatment can be tough. That’s why the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has awarded $2.25 million to the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation to screen 10,000 of the state’s young people between the ages of 12 and 22 by 2017 to see if they are at risk for substance abuse.
The aim of the program is to stop kids early by intervening before they become dependent. The program is called Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT). Its aim is universal screening through New Hampshire pediatric primary care practices. Three hospital systems and two health centers have begun or are about to begin to screen young patients. The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation is also using the funding for advocacy efforts to increase public financing to combat the drug problem and to explore evidence-based prevention and treatment solutions that deal with the needs of high-risk populations. Hilton is hoping for a program that can scale nationally, when the lessons from New Hampshire’s efforts are learned. It's been partnering with the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation for a while.
Combating substance abuse is one of the Hilton Foundation's key priorities, and its strategy focuses on getting to kids early. SBIRT is a key to that strategy. After all, you can't know who to help if you don't know who has a problem. (See a description of SBIRT and the foundation's strategy here.)
To spread and study the SBIRT model, the Hilton Foundation has worked with a number of partners, including the American Board of Addiction Medicine Foundation to establish the National Center for Physician Training in Addiction Medicine, for which Hilton gave $2 million in 2013. The goal here is to have more doctors with the knowledge and skills to provide SBIRT. Community Catalyst is another group that Hilton back to support state advocacy efforts to increase funding and training for SBIRT. The foundation has also given money for further study of SBIRT.