Mandatory substance abuse screening in injured patients: Implications for policy development and implementation

The Foundation's Substance Abuse Policy Research Program was designed to provide support for investigators to conduct policy research on a variety of subjects directed at helping the country reduce the harm caused by substance abuse.With the enactment of certain provisions of Public Act 98-201 on October 1, 1998, the State of Connecticut became the first state to mandate that injured patients admitted to acute care hospitals be screened for substance abuse. This Act requires that all patients with injuries who are admitted to an acute care hospital, are transferred to or from an acute care setting, or who require activation of a trauma team be screened for alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems. Hospitals are required to provide the Department of Health with a report documenting the outcomes of screening, including the number of patients who have been screened and the number and type of interventions and referrals to treatment. They also are required to report plans and protocols for screening, including the screening instruments used.This project has several implications for policy. Despite the knowledge that exists about AOD and injury, and recommendations for screening and intervention with injured patients, AOD screening and testing does not consistently occur. Practitioners cite numerous reasons for not screening, with one of the most common being a lack of time. Requirements for AOD screening can lead to consistent early identification of and intervention with patients who exhibit hazardous or harmful behaviors, but have not yet developed dependence on alcohol or other drugs. This can result in decreased health care costs and decreased social problems in at-risk individuals. This grant supports research on a cohort of those affected by the Connecticut Public Act. If the Connecticut policy is effective in the cohort being studied, it is possible that similar policies will be effective for other patient cohorts.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $344,646.00

Awarded on: 9/16/1999

Time frame: 10/1/1999 - 7/31/2003

Grant Number: 37378


Yale University

206 Elm Street
P.O. Box 208229
New Haven, 06520-8229


Linda Christine DeGutis
Project Director