Background: The purpose of this paper is to describe the Juvenile Justice—Translational Research on Interventions for Adolescents in the Legal System (JJ-TRIALS) study, a cooperative implementation science initiative involving the National Institute on Drug Abuse, six research centers, a coordinating center, and Juvenile Justice Partners representing seven US states. While the pooling of resources across centers enables a robust implementation study design involving 36 juvenile justice agencies and their behavioral health partner agencies, co-producing a study protocol that has potential to advance implementation science, meets the needs of all constituencies (funding agency, researchers, partners, study sites), and can be implemented with fidelity across the cooperative can be challenging. This paper describes (a) the study background and rationale, including the juvenile justice context and best practices for substance use disorders, (b) the selection and use of an implementation science framework to guide study design and inform selection of implementation components, and (c) the specific study design elements, including research questions, implementation interventions, measurement, and analytic plan.
Methods/design: The JJ-TRIALS primary study uses a head-to-head cluster randomized trial with a phased rollout to evaluate the differential effectiveness of two conditions (Core and Enhanced) in 36 sites located in seven states. A Core strategy for promoting change is compared to an Enhanced strategy that incorporates all core strategies plus active facilitation. Target outcomes include improvements in evidence-based screening, assessment, and linkage to substance use treatment.
Discussion: Contributions to implementation science are discussed as well as challenges associated with designing and deploying a complex, collaborative project.
Trial registration: NCT02672150.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
This study was funded under the JJ-TRIALS cooperative agreement, funded at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The authors gratefully acknowledge the collaborative contributions of NIDA and support from the following grant awards: Chestnut Health Systems (U01DA036221); Columbia University (U01DA036226); Emory University (U01DA036233); Mississippi State University (U01DA036176); Temple University (U01DA036225); Texas Christian University (U01DA036224); and University of Kentucky (U01DA036158).
Knight, Danica K.; Belenko, Steven; Wiley, Tisha; Robertson, Angela A.; Arrigona, Nancy; Dennis, Michael; Bartkowski, John P.; McReynolds, Larkin S.; Becan, Jennifer E.; Knudsen, Hannah K.; Wasserman, Gail A.; Rose, Eve; DiClemente, Ralph; Leukefeld, Carl G.; and JJ-Trials Cooperative, "Juvenile Justice—Translational Research on Interventions for Adolescents in the Legal System (JJ-TRIALS): A Cluster Randomized Trial Targeting System-Wide Improvement in Substance Use Services" (2016). Behavioral Science Faculty Publications. 19.