The Best Way to Help Teens Quit Drugs? So Much Depends on Their Age

Conference on the development of interventions for adolescent alcohol and substance abuse

From 1998 to 1998, staff at the Brown University Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, Providence, R.I., planned and convened a national conference, "Adolescents, Alcohol, and Substance Abuse: Reaching Teens Through Brief Interventions."

This was the first conference ever devoted to brief interventions for adolescent substance abuse.

The conference goals were to:

  • Identify unique considerations for tailoring treatment and clinical trials for adolescents.
  • Derive a set of consensus guidelines for addressing these considerations.

Key Results

  • Approximately 150 researchers and clinicians attended the conference, held October 23–24, 1998, in Newport, R.I. Ten invited experts in the field gave presentations. Three workshops offered specific applications of brief interventions:
    • "Motivational Interviewing for Teen Drinking."
    • "Motivational Interviewing for Teen Smoking."
    • "New Frontiers: Applying Information Technology to Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment."
  • Conference planners and presenters developed a set of recommendations for future research, which they expect to publish at a later date. These include:
    • Research that can inform policy and lead to exporting innovative interventions into settings that need them.
    • Assessment methodologies that provide a comprehensive, multicomponent, state-of-the art battery of standard measures to be used across research groups.
    • Methods of measuring and increasing population-based reach, recruitment, retention, and relapse prevention.
  • A book based in part on conference presentations has been published: Adolescents, Alcohol, and Substance Abuse: Reaching Teens through Brief Interventions, Monti PM, Colby SM, O'Leary TA (eds.). New York: Guilford Press, 2001.


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported the conference with a grant of $47,649 between May 1998 and February 1999.

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