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STARKVILLE, Miss.–Mississippi State is among six national universities and a health systems provider receiving a more than $2 million research grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The Juvenile Justice-Translational Research on Interventions for Adolescents in the Legal System–JJ-TRIALS, for short–is a five-year cooperative agreement to determine how juvenile justice programs may effectively adopt science-based prevention and treatment services for drug abuse and HIV.

In addition to the Bethesda, Md.-based NIDA, MSU will be working with the Chestnut Health Systems of Illinois, Columbia, Emory, Temple and Texas Christian universities, and the University of Kentucky.

“The people working on this project are well-known social scientists and criminologists,” said research professor Angela Robertson, principal investigator for the MSU’s TRIALS Research Center and associate director of the university’s nationally recognized Social Science Research Center.

“We are proud Mississippi State is a part of this group and excited about the project going forward,” she added.

Robertson said MSU will be involved in testing implementation strategies to improve the delivery of substance-abuse prevention and treatment practices for youth in the juvenile justice system in 12 Mississippi locations. The project has the potential to advance implementation science and to positively impact juvenile justice involved youth.

“We’ve learned how to treat and prevent alcohol and drug use; the issue is why more treatment and prevention providers aren’t using these practices,” Robertson said. “How do we get these organizations to adopt effective practices that have backing from scientific research?”

Project co-investigators at MSU include Connie Baird-Thomas and David Morse, along with Diana Bowser of Brandeis University. Baird-Thomas is associate director of the Social Science Center for Policy Studies and director of the Mississippi Health Policy Research Center; Morse, professor of counseling and educational psychology; Bowser, a senior research associate at Brandeis’ Heller School for Social Policy and Management.

John Bartkowski, sociology professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio, is a consultant on the project.

The MS TRIALS Research Center also includes two non-scientist partners: treatment partner Mark Stovall, clinical services coordinator with the Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Services, Mississippi Department of Mental Health, and juvenile justice partner James Maccarone, director of the Department of Human Services’ youth division.

For more information about the project, contact Robertson at 662-325-7797 or angela.robertson@ssrc.msstate.edu.

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