Youth who have touched the juvenile justice system in Indiana will benefit from new federal funding to prevent substance abuse.
The work began through Indiana University’s Addiction Crisis Grand Challenge.
Drug overdose is a leading cause of death for young people who have been involved in the criminal justice system.
IU School of Medicine professor Matthew Aalsma will receive $4.8 million from the National Institutes of Health to study a program he developed that addresses this issue.
Aalsma has been working with courts and community health providers in Tippecanoe and Wayne counties to identify and address youth substance abuse.
"Who are these young people that need services? How many days does it take them from a referral to actual intake? How can you increase the motivation for young people and their parents to actually seek out these services?" Aalsma asks.
Aalsma says there are effective interventions to deter substance abuse, but also many barriers.
"The programs tend to be intensive, there’s a lot of training on the front end and then when those trainers, researchers leave, often times those programs aren’t sustained over time," says Aalsma.
The grant will expand eight other Indiana counties in rural areas to increase training, screening and intervention.