Graduation Year


Graduation Month


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

School or Department

Health and Human Performance


Health and Human Performance – Community Health

Faculty Mentor Department

Health and Human Performance

Faculty Mentor

Annie Sondag


injection drugs self medication mental illness

Subject Categories

Community-Based Research | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology


According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) about one-third of people living with mental illness in the US also experience substance abuse. It’s becoming apparent that dual diagnosis is common in our nation. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) insists that one doesn’t simply cause the other.

The purpose of this study is twofold. First, to examine the relationship between mental illness and intravenous drug use as self-medication among clients visiting the non-profit, Open AID Alliance (OAA), in Missoula, MT. Second, to explore the barriers to seeking mental health care among intravenous drug users who report mental health issues.

This descriptive study will use a quantitative approach to data collection. Quantitative data will be collected via a Qualtrics survey containing six questions inquiring about drug use and mental health self-medication. Participant recruitment will take place at OAA where individuals visiting the syringe exchange program will be invited to volunteer for the study. Volunteers will be provided an electronic tablet upon which they can link to and complete the survey. Once submitted to the Qualtrics platform, the responses will be anonymous. Quantitative data will be analyzed descriptively and will include frequencies, means and cross-tabulation calculations. Charts and graphs will be used to display data.

The results from this study will provide staff at OAA an estimate of how many intravenous drug users accessing their services suffer from mental illness, diagnosed or undiagnosed. It will allow OAA to evaluate their clients’ barriers to mental health support. Further, it will allow them to address these barriers with their clients and assist them in accessing services. Hopefully, results from this study will encourage some of Missoula’s mental health support systems to enhance their outreach to the intravenous drug community.

Honors College Research Project




© Copyright 2017 Meaghan Gaul