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Summaries of RCT Grants

RCT of PROSPER – a community-wide substance abuse prevention program for youth

The project is a study to determine whether the positive, long-term impacts on youth substance use found in a prior well-conducted randomized controlled trial (RCT) translate into reductions in youth Medicaid utilization and costs.

Grant recipient: The Pennsylvania State University

Term: 2016 –2019

Principal Investigator: Max Crowley, Ph. D., The Pennsylvania State University

Funding: $48,839

Summary: The project is a study to determine whether the positive, long-term impacts on youth substance use found in a prior well-conducted randomized controlled trial (RCT) translate into reductions in youth Medicaid utilization and costs. Specifically, this study will build on an RCT of Promoting School-community-university Partnerships to Enhance Resilience (PROSPER), a program-delivery system in which universities partner with community teams to implement evidence-based programs for preventing youth substance abuse and other problem behaviors. The original RCT of PROSPER had a sample of 28 rural towns and small cities in Iowa and Pennsylvania. At a 6.5-year (end of 12thgrade) follow-up, PROSPER was found to produce (i) community-wide reductions of 10-35% in illicit drug use initiation by youth who were non-users in 6th grade (prior to program delivery), and (ii) moderate reductions in substance use for the full sample – non-users and users (e.g., 14% lower likelihood of past-month cigarette use).

For the new analysis, the study’s sample will consist of 33,000 youth in the communities randomly assigned in the PROSPER RCT described above. The study will use administrative Medicaid data to measure sample members’ health care utilization and Medicaid costs between the ages of 12 and 18. The study’s pre-specified analysis plan is linked here.


This study has been completed. A plain-language summary of the findings is available here.

Grants

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