About the Project

This project will be conducting a survey about cannabis, alcohol and other substances with adults, 18 through 25 years of age in New York State (NYS) in 2023. We will provide data analyses that address key substance use issues among young adults living in a state that has recently legalized the use of recreational cannabis, and repeat the survey in 1-2 years. The study will be conducted utilizing an online survey that will provide substance use prevalence data estimates for the entire state and the six geographic regions of NYS. This will provide information about how many young adults are using alcohol, cannabis, and other drugs, and how they are using them. It will also let us estimate the number of young adults who may be using excessively and who may seek treatment for their use.

Faculty and Staff

Kenneth E. Leonard, PhD, is a co-principal investigator on CAYA. He is the director of UB’s Research Institute on Addictions and a professor in the departments of Psychiatry and Psychology at UB. Leonard is a licensed clinical psychologist. He has served as principal investigator or co-investigator on clinical, epidemiological and laboratory studies funded by National Institutes of Health and other federal agencies. Leonard’s research career has focused on the bidirectional relationships between substance use and social/interpersonal relationships.

Jessica A. Kulak, PhD, is a co-principal investigator on CAYA. She is a clinical assistant professor whose research focuses on substance use, particularly nicotine, cannabis, and alcohol use. Recently, Kulak completed a study examining college health providers' attitudes, knowledge, and confidence in identifying, counseling, and disseminating information to college students around vaping and has published a review of substance use and recommendations to assist physicians in the identification and management of adolescent substance use. Her current research continues to focus on risk and resiliency factors for substance use among vulnerable populations.

Gregory G. Homish, PhD, is a co-investigator on CAYA. He is a professor and chair in the Department of Community Health and Health Behavior at UB’s School of Public Health and Health Professions. He is also co-training director of an NIH-funded postdoctoral training program. Homish additionally holds appointments in the departments of Family Medicine and Pediatrics in UB’s School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.


What is CAYA?

  • This study is analyzing marijuana, alcohol and other drug use in young adults in New York State and attitudes about these substances.

Who is funding this study?

  • This study is being funded through the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS).

Who is conducting this research?

  • This is a co-PI award to:
    • Dr. Kenneth Leonard
    • Dr. Jessica Kulak
  • Co-Investigator
    • Dr. Gregory Homish
  • Research Staff
    • Lanamarie Huynh
    • Adriana Raass

How do I know if I’m eligible?

  • If you are a young adult between the ages 18-25 living as a resident in New York State, please watch for a postcard from University of Buffalo and/or an email regarding being a participant in the study.

What types of questions are you asking in the CAYA survey?

  • The survey adjusts to your responses about substance use (or lack of substance use) reported. It will also ask about your personal views, parental views, and your peers’ views of substances like cannabis, tobacco and alcohol. There will be some questions about your thoughts and feelings, and some questions including asking about your neighborhood setting. Due to the scope of addictive behavior, there is also a section regarding gambling behavior and perceptions of gambling.

Will I get paid?

  • Upon completion of the study there will be a $10 gift card provided via email.

How are my responses kept confidential?

  • We believe that confidentiality is very important. Once you have completed the survey, your answers will be stored in a separate location that will not include your personal information. In other words, no one will be able to see how you answered the survey questions.
  • All researchers involved with access to your data have been trained in confidentiality prior to starting the project. They will not be able to identify your answers to the survey questions once you have finished the survey.
  • We will keep your email address simply to provide you with the $10 gift card, and your email will be deleted at the end of the study. No personal identifying information will be linked to you other than your email simply for payment purposes. Your questionnaire will be given an ID number to keep your email separate from your responses.

What happens if I fail to complete the survey in one sitting?

  • You are able to continue the study by using the same link or QR code provided and logging back in with the email you first provided.

What if I don’t want to answer a question?

  • That is okay. You have the right to refuse to answer any question you choose. There will be a prompt in red font to confirm you would like to skip the question(s).

What will you do with my results? Will my email be shared outside of the study?

  • All responses are stored in a database that contains only ID numbers. Your email is kept separate to confirm payment has been sent to those who complete the survey. Your name is not stored on any of the responses. The findings will be presented at national conferences and research articles in order to provide information to healthcare providers, New York state policy makers and other researchers.