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Maxwell team wins grant from Department of Justice for opioid study

January 28, 2020

Leonard Lopoo headshot

Leonard M. Lopoo

Alexandra Punch headshot

Alexandra Punch

Shannon Monnat

Shannon Monnat

A group comprised of four researchers — representing the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion and the Maxwell X Lab — will receive approximately $500,000 over three years in support of their research on different opioid court treatment interventions across New York State. The funding is part of a $1.35 million grant to the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, Inc. from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance.

Shannon Monnat, Lerner Chair for Public Health Promotion and associate professor of sociology, leads the team. She is joined by Alexandra Punch, associate director of the Lerner Center; Joe Boskovski, managing director of the X Lab; and Len Lopoo, Maxwell Advisory Board Professor of Public Policy, director of Maxwell’s Center for Policy Research, and director of the X Lab.

The project, which is funded for three years, addresses the recent sharp increase in opioid use disorders and overdoses across New York state, as well as many other regions across the United States. Researchers will study how treatment and recovery services for individuals with opioid use disorders can be improved and expanded through opioid courts. They will work with opioid courts in select locations across New York to evaluate different treatment models for individuals who have been arrested for an opioid-related crime. Included for study are cognitive behavioral treatments, interactive journaling, and moral reconation therapy. The team will also provide assessment of the implementation of these treatments across participating courts. 

Shannon Monnat is co-director of the Policy, Place, and Population Health Lab in Maxwell’s Aging Studies Institute. Her research examines geographic differences in a variety of health outcomes, with her most recent work focused on why rates of substance misuse and drug overdose are higher in some places than others. Her academic work has been published in a wide range of journals, including the American Journal of Public Health, the Journal of Rural Studies, Rural Sociology, and the International Journal of Drug Policy

Alexandra Punch has expertise in innovative treatment practices, derived from her time as the director of drug user health at ACR Health. She is currently chair of the Harm Reduction Subcommittee for the Onondaga County Drug Task Force and serves on the board for Road2RecoveryCNY, a nonprofit seeking to address heroin addiction across Central New York. 

Joe Boskovski has worked in a range of government, academic, and consulting roles designing and implementing field experiments in order to improve the lives of people across the United States. He has been a partner with Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities initiative, a project manager with the University of Pennsylvania, and an analyst at New York State Parks. 

Len Lopoo’s interdisciplinary research primarily examines child and family policy, and his results have been published in a wide range of academic journals, including Demography, Social Science Research, Social Service Review, and the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.


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