Merith Cosden of the Gevirtz School at UC Santa Barbara was invited to present at the event Drug Treatment Courts as an Alternative to Incarceration for Drug Dependent Offenders in Bridgetown, Barbados on June 19 & 20. The event was sponsored by the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission.
The purpose of the event was to provide information to the Barbados Attorney General and others to help them decide whether to create a drug court in their country. Groups presented models from Jamaica, Canada, and the United States. Dr. Cosden, along with the Honorable Justice Rogelio Flores of the County of Santa Barbara Superior Court, presented the U.S. models. In particular Cosden discussed treatment services and how to turn challenges from the health sector into opportunities. She also was part of a panel that stressed the necessity of effective monitoring and evaluation of any drug treatment court.
Merith Cosden is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Counseling, Clinical and School Psychology in the Gevirtz School. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of New Mexico in 1980 and joined the faculty at UCSB in 1988. She is a licensed psychologist and supervises students in the Hosford Clinic. Her research covers several areas. Cosden studies child abuse prevention and treatment in conjunction with a community-based agency that serves children and families exposed to violence. She also conducts evaluation research with court-based programs for adults with substance abuse or co-occurring disorders, perinatal treatment programs for women with co-occurring disorders and their children, and psychoeducational programs for college students with drinking problems. Finally, she has longstanding interest in the social and emotional functioning of individuals with learning disabilities and ADHD, focusing on differences in self-understanding and self-esteem among children and adults with these disabilities, and, more recently, the impact of having a cognitive disorder on the process of psychotherapy.