NORC is a subcontractor to the University of Chicago, Department of Medicine, on an award from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA)/National Institutes of Health (NIH), to conduct the Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network (JCOIN), Methodology and Advanced Analytics Resource Center (MAARC). JCOIN is part of NIH's Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) integrated set of research initiatives, designed to provide scientific solutions to the opioid crisis. One of NIH's HEAL initiatives focuses on optimizing effective treatment effects for justice involved individuals. Within this focus, NIDA launched JCOIN with the vision that every individual involved in the justice system with a substance use disorder should have access to effective treatment, whether detained or residing in the community. The following are JCOIN's priority goals: generate new evidence about what works and how to implement effective treatment, become a trusted resource for researchers and practitioners, develop a network of researchers collaborating with practitioners across justice and community-based service settings, build capacity to conduct research in settings, and facilitate translation of research to practice and feedback loops.
NORC is part of the JCOIN MAARC, which provides analytic and data support for a network of clinical research hubs. The MAARC conducts empirical research to ensure a timely understanding of changes in current practices in the United States related to addressing opioids in justice settings. NORC’s role is to support research on existing and changes in policy, practices, and stigma related to opioids as well as provide data infrastructure support across JCOIN.
As part of this role, NORC is conducting surveys of the public and jail administrators. In years 1-3 of this 5-year project, NORC has conducted five surveys (N=1000 each survey) assessing public stigma toward opioid misuse, knowledge and attitudes about treatment, experiences of opioid misuse or criminal justice involvement and measures of COVID-19 mitigation methods (and its correlates) adopted by the public using the AmeriSpeak Omnibus. NORC has analyzed these data to present the study results for the JCOIN community. We have also collaborated on publishing manuscripts with the MAARC and research hubs. NORC will continue conducting these surveys periodically throughout the project to assess changes in stigma and attitudes. In addition to these short surveys, NORC also conducted a survey with a nationally representative sample of over 6,000 AmeriSpeak panelists in the US to gather both national and state-level data on stigma and attitudes toward opioid misuse among the general public.
Additionally, NORC developed and tested a set of core measures for use across the research hubs designed to collect information on the behaviors and experiences on a population of incarcerated individuals with a history of opioid and other drug use. NORC is also conducting a survey of the JCOIN community, composed of approximately 300 researchers, support staff and criminal justice and treatment stakeholders, to assess collaborations within the network and their impact on advancing opioid research. Next, NORC will be conducting a survey of jail administrators to assess the availability of Medicated Assisted Treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder in incarceration settings.