Arizona Daily Wildcat
BPA started consortium last year, grant will develop program further
The UA is making its move toward helping substance abusers with the aid of a $1.2 million federal grant.
In October, the School of Public Administration and Policy in the Eller College of Business and Public Administration received a three-year, $1.2-million grant from the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for the university as well as substance abuse treatment as substance abusers are viewed as the lowest of the low and we need to dispell that stigma," said Jenny Chong, research assistant professor for family and community medicine and co-principal investigator for the UA's Arizona Substance Abuse Consortium.
The UA launched the statewide consortium last year after receiving a one-year implementation grant, said Emily McWhorter, program coordinator for the consortium.
The consortium - composed of substance abuse treatment agencies, people with addictions, researchers and policy makers - shares a vision to improve substance abuse treatment services, McWhorter said.
"Research institutions across the country applied for the grant and only nine got them," McWhorter said. "We've been doing a lot of work on behavioral policy issues and it is nice to be recognized for that."
The consortium began because of a desire to repair the separation between researchers and the treatment community, said Michael Shafer, director of the community rehabilitation division in the School of Public Administration and Policy.
"We've been doing a lot of research on effective approaches to substance abuse treatment and we want to share this with the treatment community by promoting colloboration and communication between us," said Shafer, co-principal investigator for the consortium.
The main goal of the consortium is to provide training for the substance abuse treatment providers.
The highlight of the training program is a five-month televised training workshop beginning in January.
"We will be providing cost-free, three-hour-long monthly training workshops on 'motivational interviewing' that will be broadcasted statewide to 12 different sites," Shafer said.
The consortium intends to provide three different five-month training workshops during the three-year grant period, all of which will provide particpants with a training certificate, Shafer said.
"Motivational interviewing," the topic for the first of the three workshops, is a quick method of getting substance abusers in denial to admit they have a problem, Chong said.
The consortium intends on continuing its efforts even after the grant runs out.
"Our goal is self-sufficiency," Shafer said. "We want to keep the consortium by finding other sources of revenue and perhaps moving toward becoming a membership organization."
Anastasia Ching can be reached at email@example.com