USF Center on Co-Occurring Disorders, Justice, and Multidisciplinary Research

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Technical Report

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Increasing numbers of persons who have co-occurring mental and substance use disorders (CODs) and other health-related conditions are involved in the criminal justice system, and have placed an enormous strain on institutional and community-based services. Despite NIDA's efforts to focus attention on CODs in the justice system, there has been relatively little programmatic research to address this key public health problem and to design theoretically informed and evidence-based interventions. The current project will support three new faculty investigators who will be located within the Center on Co-occurring Disorders, Justice, and Multidisciplinary Research (CJM), hosted by the Department of Mental Health Law and Policy (MHLP) at the University of South Florida (USF). New investigators will be linked via internal mentors at USF to engage in collaborative research projects, and via an external network of NIDA-funded CJDATS-2 research centers that are conducting multi-site studies in the justice system. The overarching public health objective of the CJM Center is to enhance the effectiveness of interventions for offenders who have CODs by: (a) augmenting the scientific knowledge to identify key intervention strategies that hold promise for this population; and, (b) testing theory-informed pilot strategies to identify innovative and transportable interventions. The objective will be met by increasing the capacity of the CJM Center to conduct significant and innovative interdisciplinary research through team science; and to engage partner researchers and other key stakeholders such as offenders, families, service providers, and criminal justice agencies. Specific aims of the CJM Center include: Recruitment, mentorship, and professional development of three new faculty members who will become independent but interdisciplinary investigators in the area of CODs in the justice system; To further develop and expand the capabilities of interdisciplinary researchers through a multi-layered CJM Center structure and a set of processes to facilitate collaborative research in the area of CODs in the justice system; To conduct conceptually sound and theoretically informed assessment, programming, mentoring and evaluation; and To utilize a 'virtual collaboratory' to strengthen the CJM community of new investigators, other researchers and stakeholders, and to advance cross-institutional linkages.

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USF Center on Co-Occurring Disorders, Justice, and Multidisciplinary Research