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Federal Grant to Help Curb Disease among S. Illinois Drug Users

January 15, 2020
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine’s Department of Population Science and Policy (PSP) and the University of Chicago have been awarded a three-year, $5.1 million federal grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for a project focused on addressing infectious disease transmission among rural residents who inject drugs.
 
“People living in rural areas are more vulnerable to the opioid crisis, and this project will help us learn why rural opioid use takes such a disproportionate toll,” said Wiley Jenkins, PhD, epidemiology and biostatistics division chief at SIU Medicine Department of Population Science and Policy.
 
The state’s 16 southernmost counties, referred to as the Illinois Delta Region, share many of the characteristics of rural areas that have experienced recent HIV epidemics. “Based upon PSP’s preliminary work in 2017-19, the project can substantially expand the volume and accessibility of harm reduction services, and improve coordination for a continuum of care,” Jenkins said. “We can get those in need infectious disease screening, referrals to care and better treatment. We’re extremely grateful to NIH for supporting this research.”
 
The study will explore how factors such as place of residence and local culture affect infectious disease spread and treatment among people who inject drugs. Staff will work to coordinate linking the individuals to treatment and supportive services. The research is supported by the National Institute On Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number UH3DA044829.
 
For more information on this grant or the Department of Population Science and Policy, please contact psp@siumed.edu or visit siumed.edu/popscipolicy.