Ohio study finds an association between mental health and opioid - Hometownstations.com-WLIO- Lima, OH News Weather Sports

Ohio study finds an association between mental health and opioid addiction in juveniles

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Keith Durkin and Tristin Killgallon conducted a study in Hardin County Juvenile Court relating to juveniles and opioid addiction. Keith Durkin and Tristin Killgallon conducted a study in Hardin County Juvenile Court relating to juveniles and opioid addiction.
The study is being published in the American International Journal of Social Science. The study is being published in the American International Journal of Social Science.

Two Ohio Northern University professors have teamed up to help get to the bottom of the opioid crisis. Keith Durkin and Tristin Killgallon conducted a study in Hardin County Juvenile Court relating to juveniles and opioid addiction.

"We’re seeing a large number of people that are using opioids and a large number of deaths associated with it," said Killgallon, assistant professor of criminal justice. "For a small rural county with limited resources, this is a major problem. Anything you can do to assist and help out is obviously important."

Durkin has worked with the local court system in the past and began to see a pattern in juveniles. So the two combed through some data. Anyone in drug court fills out a standard assessment called a GAIN. They looked at 100 juveniles and of them, a quarter had abused opioids. Of that quarter all of them had symptoms of at least one mental health disorder.

"Our concern is the co-occurrence of these mental health issues that these kids are turning to these drugs for self-medication," Durkin said, professor of sociology.

The first significance of this association is that this information came from a rural area.

"Majority of the research is focused on large urban areas, obviously there’s a lot more people so there’s bigger universities and they tend to focus on those" Killgallon said. "So our research is kind of unique in that we’re looking at a smaller sample in a small rural county that a lot of the bigger universities kind of overlooked."

The second significance is there is now a point of attack in battling opioid addiction.

"We need to address the opioid problem at the beginning," said Durkin. "That’s not when someone’s in their 20’s and using heroin. That’s when someone’s in their teens and starting to abuse pain pills."

The study is being published in the American International Journal of Social Science. The two professors hope this information will provide others, across the country, with what they need to address the problem.

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