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Baylor Starts Substance Abuse and Dependence Educational Program For Central Texas

March 4, 2009

Four Baylor University psychology professors have started the Baylor Addictions Research Consortium, a new community substance abuse and dependence education program that brings to the Waco area the first structured educational program taught by research experts in substance abuse and dependence.

The program will develop educational materials and present free seminars to interested groups on the risk factors and the impact of substance abuse and dependence. Some of the collaborations include Midway ISD, Waco ISD, the Freeman Center and Mission Waco.

"This program is research-based education that will better provide treatment outcomes," said Dr. Doug Matthews, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor, who will help lead the education program. "While programs do exist here in this area, this one is unique because it allows the researchers who are collecting the most recent data to share it immediately with the people who need it the most. It will be a great complement to existing efforts in educating our community about the signs and dangers of substance abuse."

In 2002, there were more than 430 alcohol and drug-related deaths reported in McLennan and surrounding counties, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. In addition, Texas ranks first, second and third in the nation for marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine seizures respectively.

The new educational program is made possible by a $19,000 grant from the Baylor/Waco Foundation, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Since 1959, the Baylor/Waco Foundation has served as the official hometown support group for Baylor University. Throughout the years, the foundation has utilized 100 percent of donations to sponsor projects at Baylor which enhance life in Waco and the surrounding area. In seeking to fulfill its mission, the Baylor/Waco Foundation partners with both individuals and businesses in the community, increasing awareness and securing funding for projects that serve both interests.

The four Baylor professors leading the program include:

Dr. Jaime Diaz-Granados, chair of the department of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor. Diaz-Granados investigates the neurobiological effect of alcohol exposure in adolescences. He previously served as a National Institutes of Health post-doctoral Fellow and has been awarded nearly $800,000 in external research grants. He also has published 13 research articles and book chapters.

Dr. Doug Matthews, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor. Matthews researches the effect of acute and chronic alcohol on brain function and investigates the effect of alcohol use on gambling behavior in college students. He previously served as the director of the Tennessee Center for Addiction Research. He has been awarded more than $2 million in external research grants and has published 46 research articles and book chapters.

Dr. Sara Dolan, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor. Dolan is a clinical psychologist whose research and outreach are focused on substance abuse. She has served as director of assessment for Psychological Associates, Inc., in West Warwick, R.I., and has been a Chief Fellow for the Brown University Alcohol Research Center. She has been awarded more than $80,000 in external research and has published 11 research articles and book chapters.

Dr. Matthew Stanford, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor Stanford researches clinical assessment of impulsive and aggressive behavior and the influence of substance abuse and dependence on aggressive behavior. He previously served as the chair of psychology department at the University of New Orleans and is currently the director of the doctoral program in psychology at Baylor. He has been awarded more than $750,000 in external research grants and has published 52 research articles, book chapters and one book.