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Catherine Quirion ’17 gathers and analyzes data for BRiDGES

By ramann on August 1, 2016
This post was written by Catherine Quirion ’17

The Madison County Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse’s mission is to improve the quality of life of Madison county residents by providing much-needed services for individuals and families affected with problems regarding substance abuse.

Cat Quirion '17 participating in one of the Hamilton Area Community Coalition events

Cat Quirion ’17 participating in one of the Hamilton Area Community Coalition events

Within their Oneida office, BRiDGES covers an impressive realm of services, including tobacco use, alcoholism, different illicit substances use, as well as suicide prevention and overall physical and mental health.

The different programs within BRiDGES better the community through both the delivery of prevention as well as intervention programs. These programs have played a significant role in creating and promoting a healthy environment for our community ever since their start in 1985.

One big issue that is extremely relevant nowadays for the organization is the increase in marijuana use due to different societal factors, namely, that marijuana is starting to become legal in more and more states. This is where my work at BRiDGES begins. For this summer, my main task is to gather data on marijuana in the county, data that involves both use and opinions on the topic of marijuana use and potential legalization. Through speaking with different health professionals in the county, as well as many residents, I have been able to get a better understanding of the ways in which marijuana use is perceived by the population in Madison County. By the end of the summer, my task will be to compile the data I have gathered into a short report, in order to make the data more readily available to anyone interested in the topic of marijuana use.

Being a neuroscience major, looking at the data and trying to understand it through a psychological/biological point of view has been fascinating. During my time at BRiDGES, I have also worked on a variety of other projects, many of them involving data analysis, for different programs within the organization. Such projects have also been very valuable to me since they are additional ways for me to use my skills to help the organization as much as possible and really benefit from my experience at BRiDGES.

With this being my second year as a field school fellow, I am starting to figure out better the dos and don’ts of summer in Hamilton and working with a community partner. One thing I have learned is to put myself out there, get outside of my comfort zone, and make the most out of the short time I have working with such a wonderful organization. Also, being from out-of-state, it gives me an even bigger appreciation for the amazing community we have here in Madison County, and how much the work of everyone at BRiDGES is impacting the lives of the people in the County.

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