Transition-age youth (16-24 year olds) represent an under-served population of individuals wedged between two systems—adult and child health care. Although 18 is the threshold for adulthood in legal terms, research suggests the human brain does not finish developing until 23-25. On the other hand, many older teenagers experience life responsibilities of full-grown adults such as supporting their family and having children of their own, particularly in at-risk, low-income environments. Despite high prevalence of substance abuse and mental health issues, this population is also the least likely to seek help.

To learn more about substance use among young adults click here.

To learn more about demographic influences on substance use click here.

The Virginia Young Adult Substance Abuse Treatment Implementation Initiative (YSAT-I) is funded by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (CSAT; SAMHSA) October 2017 through October 2021. The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) YSAT project team selected four pilot provider sites during a two-year planning grant (SYT-P; October 2015-October 2017). Sites received funding (fall 2017), appropriate training in evidence-based practices (spring 2018), and began providing wrap-around services to transition-age youth (16-24) with either Substance Use Disorder (SUD) or co-occurring SUD and a mental health disorder (COD; MHD). While the aim of the provider sites is to provide accessible treatment to the target population, the goal of the DBHDS team is to enhance the workforce and education surrounding SUD/COD (especially surrounding this age group), increase inter-agency collaboration, engage in needs assessments in catchment areas, develop a social marketing plan, update financial maps to capture where funds are allocated, and ensure quality data collection and reporting.

During the planning grant, we selected 4 geographically diverse Community Service Boards to participate in the YSAT-I initiative. Sites received funding in October 2017 to hire and train employees to conduct the Global Appraisal of Individual Needs (evidence-based practice–assessment) and the Community Reinforcement Approach for Adolescents (evidence-based practice–treatment) for the target population.

Richmond Behavioral Health Authority

Rappahannock-Rapidan Community Service Board

Mount Rogers Community Service Board

Western Tidewater Community Service Board

Malcolm King, Project Director

Richard Firth, Project Coordinator

Jerome Dixon, Data and Policy Consultant

Kathleen Owens, Infrastructure Data Management Coordinator

View YSAT Grant Minutes