Researching and giving back

Dr. John Finneran continues to conduct substance abuse research

Researching to give back to the field is something Associate Professor in the Health Science and Addictions option Dr. John Finneran is in the process of doing.

Finneran said he has been studying recovery literatures. “Specifically [looking at] the literature of narcotics anonymous, which is a 12-step program and to see how we might be able to use some of the principles of recovery and behavior change that is contained within some of the literature to support counselors who both work with folks who have substance use disorders and to support them in making more effective referrals to 12-step programs. This is qualitative research,” Finneran explained.

Benajil Rai / Equinox Staff

Benajil Rai / Equinox Staff

Finneran has been working on this research for the past year. He was approved for a faculty development grant last year and was on sabbatical for a semester last spring, which allowed him to able to focus on the research with professionals in the field and participants of the study.

“The process has been identifying a focus group of individuals who are  in the field and then conducting a group in which the principles of recovery contained in step one and that have been written about in a recovery book by narcotics anonymous called, ‘It works. How and why,’ which contains an explanation of their 12 steps and 12 traditions to introduce this first chapter on step one to the group and ask them to identify what behavior strategies they are noticing within the commentary and if that would be something that they could incorporate within their work,” Finneran said.

Finneran further explained that the research being conducted is going to be the creation of a documentary. The principle recording has been done at the Media Center at Assumption College, according to Finneran. He himself is from that area, and many of the participants also come from the central Massachusetts area.

“We have already done screening interviews and we have conducted the focus group and we are now in the process of analyzing the data that was recorded and see if we can come up with not only a documentary film that we can offer to counselors and to students here at the school within the addiction option, but also to see if we can publish this as a paper and maybe make a presentation at a area or national conference,” Finneran said. Finneran said the main reason he wanted to do this research was to, “give back and help the helpers.”

“As you are probably well aware there is a huge epidemic with opioids. Fentanyl has crept into the mix and it is related to a lot of the overdoses that we see. Fortunately Keene as an institution has been largely spared that, but if you go outside of the campus, a couple weeks ago, there were four overdoses in the city. The fentanyl is a big deal. Alcohol and tobacco haven’t gone anywhere and they claim a lot of lives too but this is one epidemic, so we want to help support people that are trying to do the work and we want to offer things to our students here. You guys will go forth to serve long after we have taken our basketballs and gone home for the day and then you will be the field,” Finneran said.

He continued by saying he has been in the field for a lengthy amount of time. He said, “My training is in the area of psychoanalytic psychotherapy, and somewhere along the journey, I came into contact with  the 12 steps of recovery as you can see in alcoholics anonymous and narcotics anonymous.

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