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Lumpkin County Drug Court rehabilitation study

In the interest of trying to prevent repeat offenses in Lumpkin County’s Drug Court, Kayleigh Faulkner, Rachel Smudde, Rachel Busic, and their faculty mentors Drs. Tony Zschau and Danny Hatch attempted to implement intervention strategies based on social networks with the goal of providing support to convicted drug users.

Hatch and Zschau explained that this project was an attempt to reverse a common cause of first-time drug use—exposure to the substance in a social circle. The group’s goal was to produce social circles that could be used to rehabilitate the subjects in a less stressful manner than typical rehabilitation programs.

“This was a new application of a largely untested method,” Faulkner said, speaking on the challenges the project presented. “It was difficult to come to consensus on the theory and framework of the program, but that process yielded a strong result.”

Because of the nature of the project and the amount of time needed to implement the program, the research group had just begun collecting data at the end of the eight-week project. However, they were confident the project would produce good results and were looking forward to seeing more robust results in the future.

“I plan on starting graduate school in the spring of 2013, and I know this experience has prepared me for it,” Smudde said. “Our project gave me a great sense of responsibility, and our research group accomplished a great deal.”

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