Department of Criminology Plans Forum on Opioid Crisis Sept. 6

by Public Relations | Aug 23, 2017

Aug. 22, 2017

Saint Vincent College Department of Criminology will hold a public forum on the opioid crisis in western Pennsylvania at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 6, at the Fred M. Rogers Center on the campus of Saint Vincent College.

The forum will present the first public release of a two-year study done by a group of Saint Vincent researchers under the direction of Dr. Eric Kocian, assistant professor of criminology, law and society. With the cooperation of Westmoreland County officials, Kocian and his group conducted extensive clinical interviews of more than 150 addiction sufferers in jails, rehabilitation facilities and outpatient clinics to gain insight into the factors critical to sound public policy determinations on the effective means of prevention and treatment in this area.

The study provides a valuable basis for understanding the age for onset of drug use, the course of addictive behaviors and the progression of usage to substances such as heroin. These matters are important to create policies regarding prevention programs and to inform the debate on issues of drug law enforcement priorities generally.

The work of Kocian is also reflective on the kinds of treatment programs those in need see as most effective and the components of those programs most important for their long-term recovery. The study also sought to determine if demographic factors such as gender, education level, employment and mental health history impact the prevention or treatment models that may be the most societally beneficial.

Kocian analyzed the research with Dr. John Lewis of the criminology and criminal justice department at IUP. The study has been conducted using rigorous academic standards applicable in the social sciences. Kocian and his group will continue the study and refine its goals and outcomes in the future. The results to date, however, are important for decision-makers in this area facing the large toll addiction has taken in this region.

Admission to the forum is free but reservations are recommended by contacting Sandra Frye at 724-805-2670 or


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