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Finding answers to New York’s most pressing substance use and gambling concerns

With concrete survey data, the state can tackle addiction head-on
The New York State (NYS) Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) addresses the prevention, treatment, and recovery needs of New Yorkers with drug, alcohol, and gambling disorders. ICF worked with OASAS to design and implement a comprehensive survey to obtain critical data on addiction issues—helping the state develop effective prevention and intervention programs.

Client

The New York State (NYS) Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS)

Challenge

Gather precise statewide estimates of substance use disorders and problem gambling, plus newer concerns like opioid use

Solution

Conduct an in-depth household survey of New York state residents and provide clear data and analysis for action

Impact

Substance use and gambling are pervasive issues across the U.S. The data collected by ICF for the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) 2016 Household Survey is now supporting the development of programs in prevention, treatment, and recovery within New York.

5,046

total survey completes

4,225

obtained by landline

821

obtained by cell phone

group of people using tablets to zoom in on data

Effective programs start with rock-solid data collection

OASAS needed comprehensive data from adult residents to provide statewide and regional estimates of substance use disorders, problem gambling, and certain gambling behaviors—as well as a comorbidity of substance use disorders and problem gambling. Data were also required on specific drugs such as heroin, prescription opioids, and other substances like synthetic marijuana and “bath salts.” This information was critical to the success of programs for prevention and treatment.

Female with her back facing photographer, using a whiteboard to document something

Getting answers to hard questions

The Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) brought ICF aboard to manage the 2016 Household Survey end-to-end, from questionnaire and sample design to data collection and weighting of the responses. Ultimately, we gathered over 5,000 complete responses from representative populations across New York. The data provided the state with reliable, up-to-date prevalence estimates of substance use disorders (SUDs).

Two colleagues discussing data chart on a digital screen

Turning data into action for prevention and intervention

Armed with actionable data, state legislators can better address the growing public health concerns associated with substance use and gambling. We provided the state with the means to produce accurate estimates of increasing epidemics like opioid addiction that can be translated into enhanced prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts within New York. The state is now able to measure the size of specific addiction issues across different regions of the state—the survey data give a clear picture of each problem and is now guiding solutions.

“It’s great to know that states like New York are taking action to try and better understand addiction within their borders. Surveys like this can be incredibly helpful to assess prevalence not only at the state level but also at local levels, enabling state departments to better target prevention and treatment programs.”

-Thomas Brassell, Survey Research Project Director, ICF