A key challenge for substance abuse relapse prevention for youth is to engage and motivate them once they have completed an initial, intense treatment. Relapse rates six months after treatment typically range from 60-70%.
In order to motivate and keep young people involved in the aftercare treatment process — a critical stage of recovery — we produced an interactive, online substance abuse relapse prevention program for adolescents. The program includes games for learning and practice — powerfully engaging motivational tools.
This program is built on the evidence-based Coping Skills Training approach. Content for each skill includes a brief instructional segment followed by an intelligent game to enhance motivation and engagement. The program can be used as a stand-alone aftercare therapy or as part of a comprehensive aftercare treatment plan.
The Phase I project focused on relaxation and refusal skills. Research included pilot testing with adolescents over four weeks following completion of substance abuse treatment, considering usage statistics, navigation observations, survey responses, and one-month post treatment entries. We also conducted feasibility testing with providers who regularly treat adolescents for substance abuse.
We envision the ultimate product (Phase II) to include a series of six modules that will fully address the coping skills training framework incorporating personal assessments, and intrapersonal and interpersonal skill building instruction with customized interactive games. The final product will also include data collection and monitoring tools and will be fully tested to demonstrate its efficacy.