Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Dauphin County Department of Drug and Alcohol Services: INTERRUPTED - High Risk Youth Intervention Program

The INTERRUPTED - High Risk Youth Intervention Program is a psycho-educational program designed to prevent the onset of substance abuse among adolescents participating in school Student Assistance Programs or under the supervision of juvenile probation. Founded on the principles of Glasser’s Reality Therapy and Choice Theory, the manualized curriculum consists of a series of exercises, homework, and factual content to encourage self-examination and strengthen capacity to fulfill five basic needs without use of drugs: (1) survival, (2) love and belonging, (3) power, (4) freedom, and (5) fun.

INTERRUPTED emphasizes, in particular, the importance of relationships and helps students through a process of discovery of how substance use interferes with fulfilling these five basic needs and debilitates one’s capacity to control feeling and physiology. Exercises and homework focus on developing patterns of thinking and acting that recognize “triggers” to use substances and invoke a new “mind speak” (action) that directs positive alternative responses to these triggers.

INTERRUPTED is supported by all 11 of Pennsylvania’s Dauphin County school districts (and their corresponding Student Assistance Programs) and the county’s Office of Juvenile Probation. Juvenile probation officers, drug and alcohol prevention specialists, or school social workers serve as facilitators following their participation in a three-day curriculum training on and observation of the program’s implementation.

With funds from SAMHSA’s Service to Science Subcontract to Build Evaluation Capacity of Evidence-Based Interventions, program staff will partner with Temple University faculty and staff to conduct the following evaluation enhancements:

  1. Adapting the Global Appraisal of Individual Needs (GAIN-Q), a measure typically used to monitor outcomes of individuals in substance abuse treatment, for use with populations participating in INTERRUPTED
  2. Implementing the adapted GAIN-Q to assess, for example, substance use, physical health, risk behaviors and disease prevention, mental and emotional health, environment and living situation at baseline and follow-up (6 and 12 months)
  3. Implementing a regression discontinuity evaluation design that separates treatment and comparison groups on the basis of those who score below and above “50” on the pre-test, respectively
  4. Developing and implementing a fidelity checklist and facilitator self-assessment instruments to derive feedback on the dynamics and level of variance in implementation


Mavis Nimoh
Dauphin County Department of Drug and Alcohol Services
1100 South Cameron Street
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17104
Phone: 717-635-2254