Taking a New Approach to Stem the Tide of Youth Overdoses Advocates Urge Expanded Use of Screening and Intervention for Youth at Risk of Drug and Alcohol Dependency

Highland Park, New Jersey –New Jersey Citizen Action Education Fund (NJCAEF) and the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence-New Jersey (NCADD-NJ), have teamed up to launch a new three-year project aimed at improving access to effective screening and intervention services. Expanding these services can help youth avoid the destructive consequences of alcohol and drug misuse and addiction and stem the tide of opioid overdoses recurring at increasing frequency throughout our state.

This new initiative, focused on youth ages 15 to 22, will combine a cost-effective public health approach called Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) with the power of consumer-led advocacy. New Jersey was one of five states selected for this national project aimed at expanding awareness, access and coverage for these early screening and intervention services. The project seeks to boost the number and types of locations where youth can access these services, and increase the number and type of professionals who can conduct screening and brief intervention. Other states participating in this project are Georgia, Massachusetts, Ohio and Wisconsin.


Maura Collinsgru, Project Director for New Jersey Citizen Action said, “Expanding SBIRT for youth is in keeping with the Affordable Care Act’s emphasis on prevention. We are excited to have been one of the few states chosen to participate in this timely and innovative project that will help to expand understanding and access to this much needed preventive service for youth across New Jersey.”

The national project, supported by a $2.5 million grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, will be paired with $1.7 million from other sources and will be managed by Community Catalyst, a national, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving health access. Community Catalyst will gather and disseminate the lessons learned from New Jersey and the other states chosen to participate in this demonstration project to help improve screening and intervention nationwide.

“Risky substance use puts New Jersey’s youth at high risk for addiction later in life,” said Ed Martone, Policy Analyst for NCADD-NJ. “We are seeing the tragic results of this in the reports about opioid overdoses and suicides. We look forward to working with our partners across the state to make sure early screening and prevention programs are available to all of New Jersey’s at risk teens. By doing so, we can improve the lives of those youths and their families while reducing the huge societal and health care costs associated with addiction.”


NJCAEF and NCADD-NJ will bring together a coalition of groups interested in the issue of addiction prevention and intervention to create a public education campaign on SBIRT. The coalition will engage consumer advocates, educators, faith-based groups, health care providers and youth organizations, working to address addiction among youth.

NJCAEF (NJCAEF) is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization, founded in 1983. Our goals are to promote economic and social justice, to empower and organize the unorganized, to build a strong progressive coalition working on issues of common concern, strengthening our base both collectively as a coalition and as individual organizations. NJCAEF is the convener of the NJ for Health Care Coalition, a diverse group of advocates representing civil rights, consumer, faith-based, health care provider and labor organizations dedicated to improving access to quality, affordable health care for all New Jerseyans.

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence-New Jersey is a private nonprofit organization founded in 1982 to advocate on behalf of those affected by drug and alcohol addiction and their families. We are the New Jersey State Affiliate of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.

Community Catalyst is a national, non-profit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1998 with the belief that affordable quality health care should be accessible to everyone. We work in partnership with national, state and local organizations, policymakers, and philanthropic foundations to ensure consumer interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and the health system are made: in communities, courtrooms, statehouses and on Capitol Hill. For more information, visit Read our blog at Follow us on Twitter @healthpolicyhub.

Conrad N. Hilton Foundation was created in 1944 by international business pioneer Conrad N. Hilton, who founded Hilton Hotels and left his fortune to help the world's disadvantaged and vulnerable people. The Foundation currently conducts strategic initiatives in six priority areas: providing safe water, ending chronic homelessness, preventing substance abuse, helping children affected by HIV and AIDS, supporting transition-age youth in foster care, and extending Conrad Hilton's support for the work of Catholic Sisters. In addition, following selection by an independent international jury, the Foundation annually awards the $1.5 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize to a nonprofit organization doing extraordinary work to reduce human suffering. From its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $1 billion in grants, distributing $92 million in the U.S. and around the world in 2013. The Foundation's current assets are approximately $2.4 billion. For more information, please visit

One of the commonly used adolescent screening tools can be viewed here 

In addition, click on the image below for a provider guide regarding SBIRT. 


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