RISKIT-CJS Pragmatic randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a multi-component intervention to reduce substance use and risk-behaviour in adolescents engaged with the criminal justice system

Record ID 32016001083
Authors' objectives: There is a body of research that provides clear evidence that young people are more at risk of harm from substance use than adults. The developing brain is more susceptible to the effects of alcohol and drugs and adolescents are more likely to develop harmful and dependent drug use in a shorter time than adults. The impact of alcohol and drug use in adolescence can have life long implications, increasing the chances of experiencing physical and mental health issues and social problems. Young people who have committed an offence are far more likely to be using alcohol and drugs than other young people and there is clear evidence that their use of drugs is associated with their criminal activity. Many young offenders are managed in the community and there is evidence that these young people are more at risk of suffering negative consequences of drug and alcohol use. While the youth justice system routinely looks for signs of problematic drug use in this population access to treatment to address their use can be difficult and many of those in need do not receive any treatment. The RISKIT programme was developed to address the underlying issues associated with adolescence risk-taking. Taking risks is normal in adolescence but some take too many risks that are detrimental to their health and wellbeing. RISKIT was developed in association with adolescents and is designed to employ methods of treatment that young people said they needed and they felt would be useful. RISKIT uses small groups of young people to discuss and address common issues and also uses individual sessions to address individual needs. Evidence from our work in schools and criminal justice suggests that this approach is not only feasible to do with young people but that young people are willing to engage with the process. In addition, those that participate in the RISKIT programme are more likely to reduce their alcohol and drug use and manage their risk taking behaviour in a more appropriate ways leading to reductions in unprotected sex and criminal activity, all of which have implications for the future wellbeing of young people. In this study we plan to implement the RISKIT programme in youth offending teams to provide treatment for those who are most at risk of negative consequences associated with the use of alcohol and drugs. In order to assess the impact of the RISKIT programme we will conduct a scientific study where some young people will be offered the programme and some will not. In order to ensure the results of the study are related to the programme we will decide who receives the programme at random. In order to assess whether the programme works we will ask all of the young people in the study to provide information at the start of the study and then again 6 and 12 months later, we will assess this information for each group to make decisions about the effect of the RISKIT-CJS programme. In addition we will calculate the cost of the programme and the potential savings to health, social care and criminal justice services to assess the cost implications of the programme. A further element of the study will assess the programme from the perspective of young people themselves, looking at their experiences of what elements of the programme they felt useful or not. If the programme does benefit young people we will also explore how we could implement it in routine service to enable access for a wide variety of young people in the criminal justice system.
Project Status: Ongoing
Anticipated Publish Date: 2021
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: England, United Kingdom
MeSH Terms
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Adolescent
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Crime
  • Risk-Taking
  • Substance-Related Disorders
Organisation Name: NIHR Public Health Research programme
Contact Address: NIHR Journals Library, National Institute for Health and Care Research, Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre, Alpha House, University of Southampton Science Park, Southampton SO16 7NS, UK
Contact Name: journals.library@nihr.ac.uk
Contact Email: journals.library@nihr.ac.uk
Copyright: Queen's Printer and Controller of HMSO
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