According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) and the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), New Hampshire consistently ranks in the top states for rates of alcohol use and abuse, marijuana use, and non-medical use of prescription pain relievers (young adults). The State of New Hampshire lacked centralized, accessible, comprehensive technical support for the promotion of evidence-based practice in substance abuse services across the continuum of alcohol abuse and drug use prevention, treatment and recovery to address its high rates of substance use and to improve treatment outcomes within its state-funded system of care.
JSI was chosen to launch the New Hampshire Center for Excellence to serve as a statewide technical assistance resource center for evidence-based practice in substance abuse services. JSI provided technical assistance in the selection and implementation of evidence-based practices in prevention of, treatment of and recovery from alcohol and other drug abuse disorders. JSI also facilitated learning collaboratives of networks and practitioners to support systems change that promote effective adoption of evidence-based practices. JSI provided technical support in data dissemination systems to promote data-driven practice and quality improvement. JSI convened an expert panel to review innovative and promising practices to support local strategies to address substance abuse. JSI staff also provided state-level strategic planning services and best practice promotion with state leadership organizations, including the New Hampshire Governor's Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Intervention and Treatment.
JSI expanded the services of the New Hampshire Center for Excellence to include evaluation of the state's Regional Network System in response to an articulated capacity gap relative to evaluation and assessment activities including data collection and analysis. This expanded scope was funded by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation to evaluate system and population outcomes over time to determine the impact of and to inform on-going quality improvement for the state's Regional Network Prevention System. The evaluation expansion allowed JSI to provide evaluation services and capacity to regional network organizations, including the development of evaluation plans, data collection monitoring, and data analysis to determine the effectiveness of strategies being implemented by NH communities to prevent and reduce the harm and burden caused by alcohol and other drug abuse.
All JSI evaluation services were provided using participatory methods by engaging coordinators of the ten regional networks as well as community members to initiate evaluation questions and interpret findings together. JSI analyzed and interpreted data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey and program evaluations for each of the ten regions according to the particular concerns raised by community members. This enabled the communities in each of the regions to use data to continue in-depth investigations into the local contexts, perceptions and behaviors that contribute to substance use problems. Having this data has also generated buy-in and interest in their local substance use trends and constructive strategies to address identified problems. It is anticipated that JSI's work will increase the capacity of the regional network system members and communities to understand and use evaluation data to strengthen their substance abuse prevention efforts.