November 2002

From NIH/National Institute on Drug Abuse

NIDA leads research network to improve substance abuse treatment in criminal justice settings

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has taken the lead in building a unique multi-agency consortium to improve drug treatment services for drug using offenders. NIDA has awarded eight grants and is providing about three-fourths of the $4.1 million committed to funding the first year of the program. Additional support is being provided by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and by the National Institute of Justice, Drug Court Program Office, and Bureau of Prisons of the Department of Justice.

Dr. Glen R. Hanson, NIDA's Acting Director, says, "The establishment of the NIDA National Criminal Justice Drug Abuse Treatment Study is an outstanding example of cooperation among Federal agencies to provide a much needed service. Each year, some 600,000 inmates--the majority of whom have substance abuse problems--are released back into the community, often without having received drug abuse treatment in prison. Left untreated, drug addicted offenders often relapse to drug use and return to criminal behavior."

The goal of the new National Criminal Justice Drug Abuse Treatment Study (CJ-DATS) is to establish and utilize a research infrastructure to develop and test models for an integrated approach to the treatment of incarcerated individuals with drug abuse or addictive disorders, including both treatment in jail or prison and treatment as part of re-entry into the community. A Coordinating Center and seven Research Centers, each serving a specific geographic area, will be supported by the grants. The Research Centers are:

  • National Development and Research Institute, Inc. (NDRI), New York, New York (Region: Rocky Mountains). Harry K. Wexler is the principal investigator.
  • UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Program, Los Angeles, California (Region: Pacific Coast). Michael L. Prendergast is the principal investigator.
  • Center for Drug and Alcohol Studies, University of Delaware (Region: Mid-Atlantic). James A. Inciardi is the principal investigator.
  • Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (Region: Connecticut). Linda K. Frisman is the principal investigator.
  • Lifespan Hospitals, Providence, Rhode Island (Region: Rhode Island). Peter D. Friedmann is the principal investigator.
  • Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas (Region: Southwest). D. Dwayne Simpson is the principal investigator.
  • University of Kentucky, Lexington (Region: Central States). Carl G. Leukefeld is the principal investigator.
  • The University Maryland in College Park has been selected as the CJ-DATS Coordinating Center. This Center, headed by Faye S. Taxman, will play a central role in establishing a working consortium of policymakers, researchers, and practitioners representing criminal justice, drug treatment, and other health and social service fields, and will provide the infrastructure for the CJ-DATS initiative.

Each Center will work in concert with each other and with NIDA to conduct multi-site and nationwide criminal justice-based treatment services research. The CJ-DATS will forge partnerships among NIDA, drug treatment and criminal justice researchers, criminal justice professionals, drug abuse treatment practitioners, and other health and social service providers who are involved in helping criminal justice-involved drug abusers return to their communities as productive, law-abiding members of society.

The studies that will be conducted by CJ-DATS will be designed and conducted in three phases over a total of 5 years. The first phase will include the establishment of a Steering Committee and development of a study plan, including planning to develop and test treatment system models. Phase II will involve pilot testing of the data collection instruments, treatment service delivery strategies, and the research plans. Preliminary data will be analyzed and the study plans will be revised according to findings from the pilot projects. Phase III will see the implementation of multi-site research studies that test integrated drug abuse treatment models that will be implemented at the selected sites, including jails, prisons, and community treatment settings.

These awards were made in response to a Request for Applications, "National Criminal Justice Drug Abuse Treatment Services Research System," issued by NIDA in February 2002.











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