UConn School of Social Work awarded five year, $3.7 million grant by National Institute on Drug Abuse

The University of Connecticut School of Social Work has been awarded a 5-year, $3.7 million grant by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The grant will fund the Connecticut Criminal Justice Drug Abuse Treatment Studies (CJDATS) Center, one of four centers around the country.

Principal Investigator of the CT CJDATS Center is Dr. Linda Frisman, Research Professor with the School of Social Work, who also serves as the Director of Research at the CT Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. Dr. Daniel Bannish, Acting Director of Behavioral Health with the CT Department of Correction is co-Principal Investigator. With other funded CJDATS centers and NIDA scientists, Drs. Frisman and Bannish will test strategies to implement evidence-based practices for criminal offenders with addictive disorders.

The CT CJDATS Center is a renewal of a previously funded award – with a twist. “This time, NIDA is specifically looking to move proven effective methods into regular practice,” says Frisman. “Implementation research doesn’t test the practices, but how to best introduce the practices to the system so that they are used correctly, and continue to be used after the research is done.”

The CT CJDATS Center will roll out 3-4 studies over the next five years. With the other centers at the University of Kentucky, Texas Christian University, and Arizona State University, the CT group will develop studies about assessment, treatment interventions, and HIV/AIDS. “We’re especially interested in the community reentry transition,” says Frisman. “That’s the intersection where prisoners can either make it or break it. We have to start using procedures that will maximize their chances of success.” The School of Social Work will work closely with partners at the Department of Correction and in the Judicial Branch to launch the studies. Dean Salome Raheim notes that “…the School of Social Work is pleased and excited to be part of facilitating translational research, bringing evidence-based practices into routine practice in the real world.”