Division of Mental Health and Substance Use Research | Kent State University

Division of Mental Health and Substance Use Research

Under the direction of Dr. Deric Kenne, the Center for Public Policy and Health’s Substance Abuse Research Program conducts timely and relevant research in the field of substance abuse and communicates findings to stakeholders, policymakers and professionals who can utilize the findings to improve the health of the public.  This includes research regarding addictions treatment, drug trends and federal and state policies regarding the use and abuse of drugs that impact public health. Here is a sample of Dr. Kenne’s current and recent substance abuse projects:


The purpose of Project AWARE Kent is to increase mental health literacy within the university community. A recent needs assessment conducted among students at Kent State University found that 30.9% of students indicated the need for mental health services; however, less than half of those students sought help. Several activities will lead to accomplishing the purpose of Project AWARE Kent including offering Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) courses, social marketing and awareness campaigns, and interagency and community partnerships through the development of an Interagency Advisory and Leadership Team (IALT).

Talk On, a new initiative, will be coming soon.

Proving Ohio’s Prevention Success: KSU Alcohol & Drug Survey

An annual survey of alcohol and other drug use among Kent State University students used to inform drug policy and prevention efforts within the university and surrounding communities.

Opioid Use & Pregnancy: A Community-Based Participatory Research Multi-Site Exploratory Study

A community-based participatory research study to investigate the use of opioid drugs during pregnancy.  The study is a collaboration between the Kent State University College of Public Health and the Ohio Alliance of Recovery Providers and the Ohio Women’s Network.  The study expands on previous research to include two rural and two urban sites in Ohio.  Findings will help better understand a relatively understudied and high-risk population and guide treatment planning and programming.

A Mixed-Method Exploratory Pilot Study to Investigate Health Services Utilization and Comorbid Psychiatric Disorder Among Pregnant Pharmaceutical Opioid Users

A community-based participatory research study in collaboration with the Department of Psychology and a local community drug and mental health treatment agency.  The study seeks to explore the misuse and abuse of opioid drugs among pregnant or recently pregnant women, including how perceptions of policies related to drug use during pregnancy influence prenatal care and substance abuse treatment seeking.