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Evaluating Programs To Prevent Drug Misuse


  • Strong data collection and grantee engagement are critical keys to effective prevention programming.
  • Abt helps improve data and evaluates SAMHSA’s drug prevention framework.
  • Collected and analyzed data and improved data quality
The Challenge

As the opioid crisis and misuse of prescription drugs continued to be issues, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) wanted to ensure its investments in states, tribes, and their grantees created effective prevention programming to target prescription-drug and opioid misuse. SAMHSA tapped Abt to serve as its national evaluator of the Strategic Prevention Framework for Prescription Drugs (SPF-Rx). Challenges included the need for better engagement with busy grantees, the need for quality data collection across sites, and the variety of data available for outcomes and impact reporting.

The Approach

Abt collects data annually from 25 grantees and their 120 sub-recipients from the Administrative Implementation Instrument, a grantee interview (first and last year of contract), and the program Outcomes Module. We help grantees improve data collection by providing a direct point of contact and easy-to-use feedback forms. The forms enable grantees to quickly recall their data submissions, track progress, and use key metrics for their own reporting purposes. Abt also cleans, analyzes, and reports grantee findings.

The Results

We collected and analyzed data from all 25 grantees and 120 sub-recipients for Year 2 and Year 3. To make the data useful, we made the outcomes data entry system user friendly. Strong working relationships with grantees resulted in improved data quality and depth. We instituted the role of site liaison as the direct contact to assist grantees. The data feedback forms we developed return to the grantee PDF versions of their entered data. The forms can serve as the basis for follow up conversations about anomalies and for training for the next collection.