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Reducing Adolescent Substance Abuse Initiative

The National Council, with support from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation,  developed a 2-year learning community, the Reducing Adolescent Substance Abuse Initiative, to help providers systematically implement an SBIRT protocol to address substance use among adolescents (ages 15 – 22) receiving services for an emotional disturbance or psychiatric disorder.

The National Council provides technical assistance and training to the participating sites in the following areas:

  • Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment Process (SBIRT)
  • Rapid cycle change plans
  • Workflows for the screening to treatment process
  • Brief interventions/motivational interviewing
  • Consultation and data reporting that will be used to support clinicians and troubleshoot problems
  • Development of referral partnerships
  • Billing for and Financing SBIRT
  • General billing, coding, and documentation issues that arise
Project timeline:

2-year Learning Community: 10/1/14 – 9/30/2016

6-month closing phase – 10/1/16 – 3/31/17

Sites participate in a 2-year learning community during which time they engage in peer-to-peer learning (both within states and across the country), access expert 1:1 consultation with change coaches and clinical experts, and analyze client data as part of rapid cycle change plans. Subsequent to the 2-year learning community, sites will access follow-up support and report data for a six-month period. This initiative involves one in-person meeting/year; all other technical assistance is provided through web platforms.

Initiative Objectives

The primary objectives of this 2-year multistate initiative are to assist organizations in developing strategies that will:

  • Implement SBIRT screening and Brief Intervention practices
  • Promote the use of Medicaid and other financing avenues to pay for SBIRT services
  • Allow for the development of comprehensive monitoring and evaluations of Learning Community participants
  • Sustain project implementation and successes following the conclusion of the Learning Community
  • Facilitate the dissemination of project findings and materials to the broader health community
The selected participants include:

California Council of Community Mental Health Agencies (State Lead)

  • Bill Wilson Center
  • Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services
  • Hillsides
  • Pacific Clinics
  • Turning Point of Central California, Inc.

Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council (State Lead)

  • Community Reach Center
  • Jefferson Center for Mental Health
  • Mental Health Center of Denver
  • San Luis Valley Behavioral Health Group

Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas, Inc. (State Lead)

  • Central Kansas Mental Health Center
  • Compass Behavioral Health
  • Elizabeth Layton Center, Inc.
  • Four County Mental Health Center
  • South Central Mental Health Counseling Center
  • The Center for Counseling & Consultation

New York State Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare (State Lead)

  • Astor Services for Children and Families
  • Child & Adolescent Treatment Services
  • Hillside Children’s Center
  • ICL
  • Northeast Parent & Child Society

Rhode Island Council of Community Mental Health Organizations, Inc. (State Lead)

  • Gateway Healthcare, Inc.
  • The Providence Center
  • Newport County Community Mental Health Center

Tennessee Association of Mental Health Organizations (State Lead)

  • Alliance Healthcare Services
  • Carey Counseling Center, Inc.
  • Frontier Health
  • Helen Ross McNabb Center

This initiative recently released a Progress Report to show the accomplishments of Year 1.

If you are interested in learning more about this project, please contact Margaret Jaco at



The National Council for Behavioral Health (National Council) is the unifying voice of America’s community mental health and addictions treatment organizations. Together with our 2,200 member organizations, we serve our nation’s most vulnerable citizens — the more than eight million adults and children living with mental illnesses and substance use disorders. We are committed to ensuring all Americans have access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery and full participation in community life. The National Council pioneered Mental Health First Aid in the U.S., which has trained hundreds of thousands of individuals to connect youth and adults in need to mental health and addictions care in their communities. Learn more

The 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



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