The Substance Use and Health Risk Intervention (SUHRI) for Justice-involved Youth

(MPI: Jennifer Becan & Danica Knight)

This feasibility trial adapts and pilot tests an integrated health risk-reduction and motivational enhancement intervention for justice-involved youth that, after full testing through a subsequent large-scale randomized clinical trial or RCT, will culminate in a sustainable intervention that can be implemented within a JJ supervision/case management context to teach and facilitate positive, prosocial, and expected behaviors. The intervention uses graphical approaches to encourage introspection and problem identification, enhance self-regulation, improve analytical problem-solving skills, and promote healthy behaviors in two interrelated target areas: substance use and risky sex practices. Existing evidence-based intervention materials are incorporated and delivered through an app andweb-based application. Sessions are  self-directed (e.g., require minimal instruction/interaction assistance) and include a service-referral piece whereby youth are provided with a list of treatment and health agencies at the end of their sessions that address specific topics. Research activities are carried out in two pilot studies: (1) Intervention Adaptation and Feasibility and (2) Protocol Feasibility. More specifically, this study aims to examine intervention feasibility and acceptability, and test the feasibility of the study protocol (adherence, subject retention, instrumentation) with the JJ-involved youth. Proximal outcomes are based on improvements in change mechanisms (e.g., problem recognition, decision making, intention to reduce personal risk) and service initiation (SU or STI-related services). Distal outcomes are based on a reduction in risky behaviors, including substance use (self-report and urinalysis) and sexual health risks (self-reported risky sex practices). Research questions, preliminary hypotheses, and successful completion of the aims will result in an intervention that is appropriate and feasible for use with justice-involved youth. ), and will provide preliminary information to inform a future design for a full-scale RCT. . The study has considerable potential to address an important vulnerable population—justice- involved youth—and focuses on a significant problem—youth behaviors that are self-detrimental and unhealthy.