Comissioner Betts Participates in Grand Opening for “The Next Door”

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 | 07:01am
KNOXVILLE – Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Commissioner Virginia Trotter Betts today participated in the Knoxville grand opening of The Next Door, a transitional residential program for women. The facility is the first expansion of a successful Nashville program that has helped over 600 women from the criminal justice system rebuild their lives since it opened in May 2004.
“Today we celebrate the expansion of a proven model of care for women emerging from the deep end of the substance abuse continuum,” said Commissioner Betts. “The Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities is very grateful for the work The Next Door accomplishes every day and we are proud to work with a national leader in this evidence-based recovery movement.”
Two federal officials – Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy, and Pam Hyde, Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – joined state and local officials in celebrating the opening. Seed money for the Knoxville location and a Chattanooga location to open in the near future was provided through a grant from the Tennessee Office of Criminal Justice Programming that was made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Today marks the one-year anniversary of the Recovery Act.
“The Next Door model effectively reduces recidivism and drug abuse by approaching the drug problem one woman at a time from a public health and public safety perspective and with combined support from law enforcement, the treatment field, faith-based organizations, and the community,” said Director Kerlikowske.
The link between crime and untreated substance abuse is undeniable. Nearly 87 percent of those arrested for any crime test positive for alcohol and other drug use, and individuals with substance use disorders continue to be incarcerated without adequate attention being given to their treatment needs. Estimates of prisoners with co-occurring substance use and psychiatric disorders range as high as 75-80 percent.
“In Tennessee, the Bredesen Administration has developed a truly inter-departmental effort between criminal justice and mental health agencies to provide these much needed and more effective services,” said Commissioner Betts. “Evidence has shown that appropriate treatment and recovery services work. Evidence-based prevention and early treatment of substance use disorders is an effective alternative to incarceration and can lead individuals to productive roles in their communities or help them avoid involvement with the criminal justice system at all. Treatment instead of incarceration and treatment after incarceration prevents recidivism and dead-end revolving doors.”
For more information about The Next Door, visit

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