Adolescent Substance Use and Addiction Program at Boston Children’s Hospital
In the late 1990s, there were few places young people and their families in Greater Boston could go for counseling and support in dealing with substance use. The issue came to a head when a 19-year-old died in a tragic accident at a quarry in Quincy, Massachusetts, where he had been drinking alcohol with friends.
In response, a dedicated team at Boston Children’s Hospital took steps to launch the Adolescent Substance Use and Addiction Program (ASAP). While typically substance abuse programs for adults were adapted for youth, ASAP was run by pediatricians with expertise in delivering services tailored specifically for adolescents. ASAP was the first program of its kind to be established at a children’s hospital nationally.
As a licensed clinician with expertise in addiction, Margot Davis understood the value of ASAP’s approach and became an early advisor. During the program’s start-up phase, the Davis family provided seed funding to support both ASAP’s research activities and its clinical services. Among other things, the funding allowed the program to staff up in response to the months-long wait for appointments that families were experiencing when the program first opened.
“If you’re trying to start a program anew, the ideal donor is the one who understands what you’re trying to achieve and shares your vision.”Leonard Rappaport
This early support of ASAP’s research agenda and expanded service delivery helped to affirm the program’s effectiveness and leveraged its long-term sustainability, with ASAP going on to receive millions of dollars in federal funding. In subsequent years, the Davis family has supported the creation and ongoing funding of a pediatric substance use training program for fellows to grow expertise in the field nationally.
“If you’re trying to start a program anew, the ideal donor is the one who understands what you’re trying to achieve and shares your vision,” says Leonard Rappaport, Chief Emeritus of the hospital’s Division of Developmental Medicine. “Without their support, ASAP—which is unique in the U.S.—would not exist.”
ASAP now serves as a national model, with its staff having provided mentoring and guidance to establish similar programs at children’s hospitals from Maine to California.
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