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  1. Who Are You? Squatters Can Actually Help a Neighborhood

    Squatters who illegally occupy vacant homes or buildings are not always contributing to apathy or social disorder, says a new University of Michigan study that was presented at the 111th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA).

    It can actually be a good situation for a neighborhood to have these individuals move into abandoned homes, lessening the chance of them becoming sites for drug users or burned by arsonists, the study indicates.

  2. Study Uses Geo-Mapping to Identify ‘Hot Spots’ for Use of Fentanyl and Other Opiates

    As the U.S. experiences sharp increases in drug overdoses, researchers in Delaware are using geo-mapping to look at the state, neighborhood by neighborhood, to identify “hot spots” where the use of prescription fentanyl — an extremely powerful synthetic opiate, which recently attracted national attention as the drug that caused Prince’s death — and other opiates is especially prevalent. 

  3. Study Shows How a Community’s Culture and Social Connectedness Can Increase Suicide Risk

    Community characteristics play an important role in perpetuating teen suicide clusters and thwarting prevention efforts, according to a new study by sociologists at the University of Chicago (UChicago) and University of Memphis who examined clusters in a single town.

  4. Access to health care strengthens communities: JHSB study

    A new Journal of Health and Social Behavior study shows that access to health insurance can help hold a community together socially, and lack of it can contribute to the fraying of neighborhood cohesion.

    The study, Beyond Health Effects? Examining the Social Consequences of Community Levels of Uninsurance Pre-ACA, published by the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, is an effort by researchers Tara McKay and Stefan Timmermans to “broaden the conversation” about the effects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).