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George Mason University is among 11 research institutions named to the Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network (JCOIN).

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), through the National Institute on Drug Abuse, awarded $15 million in grant funding over five years to establish Mason’s JCOIN Coordinating and Translation Center.

JCOIN is part of the NIH Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Initiative, launched in early 2018 and focused on improving prevention and treatment strategies for opioid misuse and addiction, and enhancing pain management.

Mason’s center is led by University Professor Faye Taxman, with Mason researchers Danielle S. Rudes and Rebekah Hersch joining experts from other universities as part of the center’s team. There are 19 Mason faculty and staff members who will be associated with the center.

“The team at Mason and our partners will provide opportunities to advance science and practice,” said Taxman, who teaches in Mason’s Criminology, Law and Society Department and is director of the Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence. “We intend to break new ground in building the next generation of workforce of scientists and clinicians.”

The Mason effort also will focus on research to identify effective dissemination strategies for reaching criminal-justice and addiction-treatment stakeholders and provide funding for rapid turnaround innovation efforts.

“So many individuals who struggle with substance-use issues find themselves in the criminal-justice system because of their addiction,” said Bill Hazel, senior adviser for innovation and community engagement in Mason’s Office of Research and the former Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources. “This work is essential to helping the nation find workable solutions to their unique challenges.”

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