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Chestnut To Study Opioid Abuse Among Ex-Prisoners In $9.3M Grant

Chestnut Health Systems of Bloomington will be taking part in a national study that aims to curb opioid abuse among recently released prisoners.

Lighthouse Institute, a division of Chestnut, will share in a $155 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to research addiction treatment in criminal justice settings.

Dave Sharar
Credit Chestnut Health Systems
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Chestnut CEO Dave Sharar said opioid abuse is much more prevalent in jails and prisons than in the general population.

Chestnut CEO Dave Sharar said opioid abuse is much more prevalent in jails and prisons than in the general population in the U.S.

“Many of these individuals who are incarcerated do not have access to evidence-based treatment such as medication-assisted treatment, where we use medications to help ween them off opiates, but also link them to other forms of treatment and long-term sustainable recovery,” Sharar said.

Chestnut’s portion of the grant is $9.3 million to take part in the five-year study.

Sharar said that’s the largest research grant the Lighthouse Institute has received since it was established in 1986.

“The Lighthouse Institute is really one of Chestnut’s best-kept secrets,” he replied.

Sharar said the institute will deploy an intervention that it developed called Recovery Management Checkups. The program provides quarterly checkups, helps those recently released from jail stay in treatment and relinks them with treatment as necessary.

“This study provides an opportunity to test an intervention that is client-centered and increasingly responsive to the needs of the individual,” said Christy Scott, the Lighthouse Institute’s director of research and development. “We expect that the study findings will help our justice, judicial, and treatment partners to target their resources to those most in need. In the end, this research should improve the overall effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of opioid use disorder intervention.”

The Lighthouse Institute’s part of the study will involve 750 male and female offenders in six Illinois counties which it has not yet identified.

Lighthouse Institute is participating in the study along with Yale University, Texas Christian University, Brown University, University of Chicago, University of Kentucky, New York University School of Medicine, New York State Psychiatric Institute, Friends Research Institute and Baystate Medical Center.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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