Developing adaptive interventions for adolescent substance use treatment settings: protocol of an observational, mixed-methods project

Over 1.6 million adolescents in the United States meet criteria for substance use disorders (SUDs). While there are promising treatments for SUDs, adolescents respond to these treatments differentially in part based on the setting in which treatments are delivered. One way to address such individualized response to treatment is through the development of adaptive interventions (AIs): sequences of decision rules for altering treatment based on an individual’s needs. This protocol describes a project with the overarching goal of beginning the development of AIs that provide recommendations for altering the setting of an adolescent’s substance use treatment. This project has three discrete aims: (1) explore the views of various stakeholders (parents, providers, policymakers, and researchers) on deciding the setting of substance use treatment for an adolescent based on individualized need, (2) generate hypotheses concerning candidate AIs, and (3) compare the relative effectiveness among candidate AIs and non-adaptive interventions commonly used in everyday practice.