Substance Abuse Resources & Disability Issues

Josephine F. Wilson, D.D.S., Ph.D., Director

RUSH Research Utilization Award:

Dissemination of a mixed-utilization model for promoting substance use disorder screening in vocational rehabilitation

Dennis Moore, Ed.D., Mary McAweeney, Ph.D., Linda Lazowski, Ph.D., and Allen Heinemann, Ph.D.

SARDI received funding from RUSH to further the SAVR-S study that originated from the RRTC. The goal of that project (R1) is to promote widespread use of a substance use disorder screening instrument called the Substance Abuse Vocational Rehabilitation Screener. The screener is being used with persons with disabilities who utilize disability-related employment services at the state-federal vocational rehabilitation system. This project is in collaboration with the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) and the SASSI Institute. The SAVR-S was created and validated over an 18 month time period with nearly 1,000 applicants to vocational rehabilitation system. The RUSH project further expands that study to a total of six states, with the addition of Virginia, Utahand Kentucky.

The specific objectives of the RUSH Grant include:

  • Develop a trainer-of-trainer system utilizing consultants with VR backgrounds in order to increase training capacity and further disseminate SUD screening practices in other VR systems.
  • At the suggestion of the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR), double the number of VR state systems currently employing systematized SUD screening for all applicants (from three to six states), thereby increasing the sample of state VR systems in the evaluation while also increasing knowledge transfer.
  • Expand the evaluation measures of the training impact on VR counselor knowledge, attitudes and behavior, as well as further examine the impact of a state-wide SUD screening policy on VR systems.

As of May 2008, this project completed the implementation of a trainer-of-trainer system utilizing consultants with vocational rehabilitation backgrounds. This has allowed for an increase in training capacity and further dissemination of the SAVR-S screening tool in Virginia, Kentucky and Utah. The three states are screening all applicants using the SAVR-S instrument. A total of approximately 10,000 SAVR-S have been completed. The RUSH project comes to completion September 2008.