UA Developing Substance Abuse Treatment Programs Within Impoverished Neighborhoods

  • August 18th, 2002
Dr. John Bolland
Dr. John Bolland

A University of Alabama social scientist hopes to use a new $3.75 million federal grant, awarded to UA by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, to change five impoverished Mobile area neighborhoods — from within.

While many agencies offer services to the needy, Dr. John Bolland, director of the Institute for Social Science Research at UA, said he hopes a new, collaborative approach will bring greater results. “Agencies open their doors to people in need, who in turn are expected to seek services they need and receive them in the offices of the professionals or volunteers,” Bolland said. “But to effectively address problems of substance abuse, there has to be some sort of community buy-in.”

Bolland hopes to bring help to the needy through the creation of substance abuse treatment centers located within five of the Mobile metropolitan area’s poorest neighborhoods. The program will focus on the neighborhoods of Alabama Village, Gulf Village and Snug Harbor, all located in Prichard, and Trinity Gardens and Roger Williams Homes, both located inside Mobile.

Bolland said the grant would also be used to develop a supportive community that can become a partner in the substance abuse programs, through the establishment of a substance abuse policy coalition. The coalition will include residents from the inner-city neighborhoods. Funds from the grant will be used to hire an outreach supervisor and eight outreach workers. This group, which will likely include neighborhood residents, will work to increase interaction between residents, Bolland said.

Members of the outreach team will work with residents to establish organized activities to help residents help themselves. The types of activities will depend on what residents express interest in, but Bolland said examples could be anything from aerobics class, to tips on hair-styling or word processing or other job skill classes.

The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.