Project Name: Personalized Health Assessment Related to Medications (Project PHARM)
Principal Investigator: Irene Geisner, PhD & Jason Kilmer, PhD
Grant Title: Novel Web-Based Intervention for Heavy Drinking and Depressed College Students
Sponsors: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) Foundation
Project Period: 09/01/15-08/31/20
Grant Number: U01DA040219
Project Coordinator: Nicole Fossos-Wong

Project PHARM represents a program of research aimed at understanding and preventing/reducing prescription stimulant medication (PSM) misuse among college students. Up to 36% of college students have engaged in PSM misuse and this is linked with increased consequences, including health consequences, reduced GPAs and class attendance, and comorbid use of other substances. Research indicates several key reasons students turn to PSM such as to increase academic performance and energy and regulate the effects of other drugs. However, no prevention campaigns or interventions have been developed or tested for PSM misuse among college students. This research consists of two distinct studies. The first of these is funded by the NASPA Foundation (MPI’s: Kilmer & Geisner) and aims to understand the motives, attitudes, and behaviors of traditional age college students at 7 nationally representative residential colleges as they relate to the use and misuse of ADHD prescription drugs. We will conduct web-based surveys to collect data on rates of nonmedical use of PSM misuse as well as the factors that influence PSM misuse. We also will conduct focus groups in order to identify strategies, language, and information that resonate with students and administrators in order to develop a campaign aimed at reducing and preventing prescription stimulant misuse. Implications for prevention campaigns and suggestions for program development will be obtained and shared with the NASPA Foundation with the goal of developing a social norms campaign or other prevention materials that can be disseminate across academic institutions.

The second study in this program of research is funded by NIDA (MPI’s: Geisner, Kilmer, Arria, & Cimini). The broad, long-term objective of this research is to reduce the prevalence of PSM misuse among college students, through development and testing of efficacious and cost- effective personalized feedback interventions (PFI’s) targeting college students’ perceived benefits of PSM, normative perceptions of PSM, and increasing alternative behaviors, thereby reducing PSM and other substance use (specifically marijuana and alcohol). The current research builds on our prior work on risk factors, consequences, motives, norms perceptions and benefits of PSM and development of PFI approaches for alcohol, marijuana, and other drug use. This is a 3 campus collaborative with University of Washington, Maryland, and SUNY Albany. Research indicates brief, web-based and in-person PFI’s targeting a wide variety of substances and conditions, including accurate norms feedback, beliefs and perceptions feedback, and alternative strategies, are efficacious in reducing symptoms, correcting norms, and reducing substance use in a vulnerable population (college students). The current study extends this work by developing and testing an innovative PFI developed specifically to target student PSM misuse. Specific aims are: 1) Establish norms of PSM for use in the PFI and solicit feedback on intervention components; 2) Develop and test efficacy of a web-based PFI to reduce PSM misuse, as well as alcohol and marijuana use, among college students at 6 and 12 month follow-ups. Evaluate normative perceptions, PSM-related beliefs, and alternative behaviors as mediators of intervention efficacy as well as motives for use and demographic variables as moderators; and 3) Compare efficacy, mediators, and moderators of the web-based PFI versus an in-person MI-based PFI versus control in reducing use and consequences of PSM, alcohol and marijuana among students seeking services at Counseling and Health Centers.