The SPF PFS 2015 Grant in Massachusetts

SPF-PFS Grant Background
On September 30, 2015, the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services was awarded a five-year Strategic Prevention Framework Partnerships for Success 2015 grant (SPF-PFS 2015) from SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP). This grant provides funding between September 30, 2015, and September 29, 2020, for states to address a state-identified prevention priority in communities of high need.

States were required to target one or both of two substance abuse prevention priorities:

  • Underage drinking among persons ages 12–20
  • Prescription drug misuse and abuse among persons ages 12–25

States could also choose to target an additional data-driven prevention priority, provided that they also targeted one of the aforementioned issues.

The PFS 2015 grant in Massachusetts will target prescription drug misuse and abuse among high school-age youth as its sole prevention priority. This decision was based on the findings from a state epidemiological assessment process and recommendations that appear in several state-level strategic prevention plans.

Community Selection
As part of the application to SAMHSA/CSAP, states were required to identify communities disproportionately impacted by the state-identified prevention priority.

Community-level data on prescription drug misuse and abuse is only sporadically available in Massachusetts. Existing state surveillance systems are not designed to provide data that can be disaggregated below the state level. Many communities conduct local health and behavioral health surveys among middle and high school populations, but these data are not complete or consistent enough to support state-level decisions about which communities should be targeted over others.

As with the earlier PFS-II grant and the SPF-SIG before that, the most consistent and reliable proxy indicator for assessing need related to prescription drug abuse has been unintentional fatal and non-fatal opioid-related poisoning overdoses. These data help identify communities that are disproportionately affected by this issue and that could benefit the most from earlier primary prevention programming.

In preparation for this proposal, a state-level data workgroup examined the absolute number of unintentional fatal and non-fatal opioid-related overdoses over the most recently available three-year period, 2010–2012. The sub-group selected a three-year count of 50 overdoses or more as an indicator of high need, with the intention of directing resources to the communities with the largest total number of overdoses—and, by inference, the highest ongoing risk of prescription drug misuse.

Sixteen communities in the Commonwealth met this criterion, accounting for more than 6,000 fatal and non-fatal overdose events between 2010 and 2012.

SPF-PFS 2015 Target Communities in Mass. with ≥ 50 Fatal or Non-Fatal (Unintentional, Undetermined, and Missing Intent) Opioid-Related Poisoning Overdoses, 2010–2012

Sub-Recipient Responsibilities
The 16 sub-recipient communities will have five months from the point at which they receive funding to engage in a local comprehensive strategic prevention process using SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework. This planning process will result in the generation of a strategic plan that includes the following:

  • Data demonstrating NMUPD among high school-age youth in the community and an assessment of the intervening variables that appear to be driving use
  • An assessment of local capacity to address the issue and capacity needs
  • A data-informed strategy selection process
  • An implementation plan
  • An evaluation plan

See PFS 2015 Grant Milestones, Timeline, and Deliverables for a timeline of deliverables specific to the PFS 2015 grant program.

Grant Parameters

  • This is a primary prevention grant focused on preventing and reducing NMUPD.
  • The purpose here is to prevent and reduce non-medical use (i.e., primary prevention). This grant is not directly focused on the potential consequences of any or all use (e.g., overdose).
  • This grant is not limited to prescription opioids. A community may choose to specifically focus on prescription opioids, but any and all classes of prescription drugs may be targeted.
  • The primary target population is high school-age youth, who can be reached both in and/or outside of the school setting.
  • Secondary target populations (such as parents and prescribers) may be served, provided that the effects of any services delivered to these groups are likely to have an impact on past 30-day NMUPD among high school-age youth in the community.
  • All prevention activities must be limited to the funded community—this is not a cluster model where you work with surrounding communities such as with other BSAS-funded programs like the MOAPC or SAPC grants.