Substance Abuse and Mental Health

Evaluation of the Substance Abuse Block Grant (SABG) – Treatment Efforts

  • David Borton, Principal Investigator
  • Rachel Ryding, Assistant Scientist
  • Dana Holz, Associate Scientist
  • Darryl Chambers, Assistant Scientist
  • Megan Wissert, Graduate Research Assistant

As outlined by SAMHSA, the purpose of the Block Grant is to fund programs for substance abuse prevention, treatment, recovery support, and community mental health services and other services to supplement Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance services.  Through the Substance Abuse Block Grant (SABG), Delaware plans, implements, and evaluates activities that treat substance abuse and promote public health. SAMHSA funds for SABG recipients to collect performance and outcome data to determine the ongoing effectiveness of behavioral health promotion, treatment, and recovery support services.  The Substance Use Treatment Evaluation Team at CDHS conducts the evaluation of the substance use treatment components of the block grant as well as support performance and outcome data collection. Additionally, CDHS provides analysis and visualization of various datasets, including Delaware’s Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) to support state initiatives, inform state agencies and providers, and disseminate data broadly.

ESS Presentation on TEDS

Delaware’s Strategic Prevention Framework for Prescription Drugs (SPF Rx)

  • Dana Holz, Principle Investigator
  • Michelle Illescas, Research Associate

Delaware’s Strategic Prevention Framework for Prescription Drugs (SPF Rx) is a primary prevention program intended to raise community awareness about the risks of prescription misuse, and work with pharmaceutical and medical communities to understand the risks of overprescribing to Delaware residents ages 12-25 and across the lifespan. Funding is provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for the Substance Abuse Prevention (SAMHSA/CSAP). The Delaware SPF Rx is administered by Delaware’s Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health. The evaluation team works with funded community agencies and DPH to evaluate ongoing prevention efforts funded through SPF Rx. The evaluation team tracks and reports on process and outcome measures using data from prevention activity tracking tools, Delaware Prescription Monitoring Program data, emergency department data, opioid overdose mortality data, and Delaware School Survey data. 

Evaluation of Delaware Emergency COVID-19 Response

  • David Borton, Principal Investigator
  • Solange Ealy, Research Associate
  • Jessie Arnold, Research Associate
  • Madeline Stenger, Research Associate
  • Michelle Illecas, Research Assistant

The goal of the Delaware Emergency COVID-19 project is to build upon the systems that have been established in Delaware to meet the needs of individuals and families, including healthcare professionals, impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding will support expanding access to crisis and substance use stabilization services, increasing access to healthcare management and connection to recovery support services, increasing the capacity of the treatment system, improving access to virtual behavioral and peer-to-peer recovery support, and serving healthcare workers experiencing trauma and/or requiring mental healthcare as a result of COVID-19. The Center for Drug and Health Studies is evaluating this project, providing data analysis and technical assistance.

Planet Youth Coalition’s Federal Prevention Grant

  • M. J. Scales, Principal Investigator
  • Shauna Leahy, Graduate Research Assistant
  • Initiated: 2019; Funding Source: SAMHSA

SPF-PFS grant programs aim to reduce substance misuse and strengthen prevention capacity at the state, tribe, jurisdiction, and community levels. Planet Youth Coalition’s (PYC) foci are preventing and reducing underage drinking and marijuana use in youth in zip code 19809 and beyond. The premise is that change at the community level is influenced by collaborative partnerships, peer-led messaging, and local innovation.

The grant evaluation team provides process and outcome evaluation services for this recipient and subrecipients over the life of the five-year grant. The evaluation services include technical assistance and guidance on the five steps of the SPF Framework: Assessment, Capacity Building, Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation.  

The Delaware Child Psychiatry Access Program (DCPAP)

  • Sharon Merriman-Nai, Principal Investigator
  • David Borton, Co-Principal Investigator
  • Cheryl M. Ackerman, Advisor

The Delaware Child Psychiatric Access Program, conducted by the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families, is developing a network of pediatric primary care providers who enlist with the state, or it’s contracted service providers, to receive telehealth consultation and educational services as needed, to provide better and more prompt psychiatric treatment for their patients.  This may reduce the number of children who need to be referred to a child psychiatrist, which often is delayed by six (6) to eight (8) months due to the shortage of child psychiatric practitioners in the state. In particular, the project is expected to substantially expand pediatric psychiatric services in the rural areas of Kent and Sussex Counties, both of which are underserved and designated health provider shortage areas. The Center for Drug and Health Studies is providing project evaluation, which includes needs assessments, enrolled provider surveys, evaluation of training presentations, and analysis of client-level treatment data. The project has expanded to offer telehealth psychiatric consultation to providers in emergency, urgent care, and school and school wellness settings.

State Opioid Response

  • Solange Ealy, Principal Investigator
  • Daniel J. O’Connell, Co-Investigator
  • David Borton, Co-Investigator
  • Jessie Arnold, Research Associate

The State Opioid Response (SOR) is a 2-year federal SAMHSA grant awarded to states for the purpose of improving prevention efforts, access to treatment and services, increasing Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), improve wrap around services, and develop and use data systems to inform action for opioid users. The Center for Drug and Health Studies (CDHS) will lead the evaluation component of the SOR project by planning and developing evaluation activities as well as analyzing the data collected. The project is targeted to serve 11,850 clients over two years.


Substance Use & Opioid Use Disorder: Who is Accessing Publicly Funded Treatment in Delaware? A Preliminary Look (ACCEL Presentation)

Legal System Involvement and Substance Use Treatment Retention (ASC Presentation)

Social Ecology of Treatment Access for Substance Use and Opioid Use Disorder (ESS Presentation)

Substance Use & Opioid Use Disorder: Who is Accessing Publicly Funded Treatment in Delaware? – A Preliminary Look (Evelyn Hayes Symposium Presentation)

Evaluation of the Substance Abuse Block Grant (SABG) – Prevention Effort

  • Darryl Chambers, Principal Investigator
  • Dana Holz, Research Associate
  • Meisje Scales, Evaluator
  • William Gratton, Graduate Research Assistant
  • Initiated: 2017; Funding Source: SAMHSA through Delaware’s Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families

The Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (SABG) program provides funds to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, 6 Pacific jurisdictions, and 1 tribal entity to prevent and treat substance abuse. The SABG program’s objective is to help plan, implement, and evaluate activities that prevent and treat substance abuse.

The Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH) funds providers to implement substance use prevention efforts. The major goals of this project are 1) to prevent the onset and reduce the progression of substance use and abuse for youth and their families through the reduction of risk factors and increasing identified protective factors; 2) provide primary prevention activities to prevent substance use and abuse through a comprehensive use of evidence-based strategies including education, information dissemination, environmental, community-based, alternative activities; and 3) build prevention capacity and infrastructure and the community level.

The role of the SABG Evaluation team is to evaluate the prevention efforts at the State and Community level, which include both outcome and process evaluation.  Additionally, the team provides technical assistance to the Community Providers and the State on topics such as data collection, survey design, and logic model building.  The Evaluation Team also provides ongoing feedback to the Management Team on overall progress toward project milestones as well as making recommendations to adjust identified indicators and interventions at the community level.

SABG 2018 Annual Report.pdf

Hero Help Program Evaluation (COSSAP)

  • Daniel J. O’Connell, Principal Investigator
  • Ellen Donnelly, Co-Principal Investigator
  • Jessie Arnold, Data Analyst
  • Madeline Stenger, Research Associate
  • Carol Ann Sharo, Graduate Research Assistant

The Hero Help Program was implemented in 2016 by the New Castle County Police Department (NCCPD). This program was designed to increase access to substance use treatment for people involved in the criminal justice system, as well as to divert people who would otherwise be charged with a substance use related offense. In 2018, NCCPD expanded the program by hiring a Civilian Coordinator to conduct follow-up with people enrolled in the program, offer overdose outreach, and provide assistance in navigating the healthcare and criminal justice systems. The Center for Drug and Health Studies conducted a program evaluation which highlighted the improved functioning of the program after the civilian coordinator was hired. In 2020, the program further expanded to include a child victim advocate, case manager, nurse, and substance use clinician. With more diverse staff, the program created a Behavioral Health Unit, consisting of police officers and mental health professionals, which has increased the program’s capacity to assist individuals with mental illness and co-existing mental illness and substance abuse (CMISA) issues. The Center for Drug and Health Studies continues to evaluate the program by designing data collection tools and analyzing collected information. Hero Help is planning to extend its reach statewide.

Hero Help Program Grant Report

Final Report – CDC Data Analyst Position

Delaware Recovery Schools Assessment

  • Steven Martin, Principle Investigator
  • Cynthia Robbins, Co-Investigator

This state funded study assesses the need, feasibility, and practicalities related to establishing a Recovery High School or High Schools in Delaware.  The assessment addressed three (3) issues:  1) need, as evidenced by number of substance abuse affected youth and seriousness of their need for treatment and education services; 2) practical considerations including location of facilities or services statewide; and 3) recommendations for alternative programming and services the State may wish to support.

Monitoring Opioids to Reduce Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome: Informing Policy to Increase Contraceptive Access in Delaware

  • Mieke C.W. Eeckhaut, Principal Investigator
  • Tammy L. Anderson, Co-Principal Investigator
  • Jascha Wagner, Data Manager
  • Elizabeth J. Brown, Christiana Care Health System, Consultant
  • Inititated: 2018; Funding source: ACCEL

The project “Monitoring Opioids to Reduce Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome: Informing Policy to Increase Contraceptive Access in Delaware” (MORNAS) relies on Delaware Prescription Drug Monitoring (PMP) data to examine how the opioid epidemic is affecting Delaware’s population of reproductive-aged women. The main aim is to help reduce the incidence in neonatal abstinence syndrome by identifying opioid risks among women ages 15-45 years, and how policy efforts aimed at increasing contraceptive access can better serve these women in Delaware.  

A publication inspired by this project: Is the Gender Gap in Overdose Deaths (Still) Decreasing?

HeNN: Help Near and Now

  • Tammy Anderson, Primary Investigator
  • Hui Fang, Co-Investigator
  • Cathy Wu, Co-Investigator
  • Julie Cowart, CBCB Research Associate
  • Haibi Hu, CBCB Graduate Research Assistant
  • Sachin Gavali, CBCB Graduate Research Assistant
  • Joshua Stout, CDHS Graduate Research Assistant
  • Logan Neitzke-Spruill, CDHS Graduate Research Assistant

HeNN (Help Near & Now) is an innovative iPhone and Android smartphone app that provides a GIS-based, interactive platform to connect people suffering from SUDs, and their families, to services and care providers where and when they need them. HeNN also establishes a peer network by allowing people to learn from each other through feedback on resources, which can later inform providers and policymakers about the utilization and effectiveness of services. Healthcare and community providers can use HeNN to find resources for their patients/clientele and to obtain analytics about how they use their services.

HeNN’s ultimate goals are to increase access to and use of SUD services, decrease SUD morbidity and mortality, empower users and communities with resources to minimize the impact of SUDs, and mobilize partners to become a local and national resource. While initially tailored to SUDs, HeNN could be adapted for mental illness, alcohol abuse, and other health problems, making it a scalable healthcare product with significant economic promise.