Implementing Outside the Box: Community-Based Social Service Provider Experiences With Using an Alcohol Screening and Intervention

David A. Patterson Silver Wolf (Adelv unegv Waya), Alex T. Ramsey, Carissa van den Berk-Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The aim of this study is to better understand perceptions of frontline social service workers who are not addiction specialists but have to address addiction-related issues during their standard services. Six social service organizations implemented a validated alcohol assessment and brief education intervention. After a 3-month trial implementation period, a convenience sample of 64 frontline providers participated in 6 focus groups to examine barriers and facilitators to the implementation of an alcohol screening and brief intervention. Three themes emerged: a) usefulness of the intervention, b) intervention being an appropriate fit with the agency and client population, and c) worker commitment and proper utilization during the implementation process. A cross-cutting theme that emerged was the context in which the intervention was implemented, as this was central to each of the 3 primary themes identified from the focus groups (i.e., the usefulness and appropriateness of the intervention and the implementation process overall). Practitioner buy-in concerns also indicate the need for better addiction service training opportunities for those without addiction-specific educational backgrounds. Future research should assess whether targeted trainings increase addiction screening and education in social services settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-245
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Social Service Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 15 2015


  • Implementation
  • brief alcohol screening
  • education
  • social service worker opinions
  • substance abuse
  • substance education


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