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State to Create Program that will Help Adolescents & Youth with Treatment and Recovery of Substance Abuse Issues

Thursday, August 29, 2013 | 11:04am

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) is going to create a program that will help adolescents and youth in Madison and Maury counties with the treatment of substance abuse issues.

The program, called Treatment and Recovery for Youth (TRY), will help adolescents age 12-18, transitional youth age 18-24, and their families by developing a “learning laboratory” that will inform infrastructure development. It is expected that the TRY program will provide direct service delivery for 400 young Tennesseans.

“These are some of our most vulnerable residents who are battling serious substance abuse issues, and we need to do everything we can to help them get treatment and start on their path to recovery,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Douglas Varney. “Early intervention in the lives of young people has been shown to help in the battle against substance abuse, and these affected families need to know that treatment is effective, and recovery is truly possible.”

To do this, the TDMHSAS has received a federal grant totaling $3.8 million from the U.S. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The grant will be paid in four yearly installments of $950,000 per year, starting on Sept. 1, 2013, and running through August 30, 2017.

To create the TRY program, the TDMHSAS will partner with two community-based treatment providers – Centerstone of Tennessee and Pathways of Tennessee – to provide comprehensive treatment and recovery services. These services encompass the complexities of addiction and mental health issues and will include offering assertive outreach, assessment, treatment, and continuing care, such as in-home case management, linkages to other services, and transportation.

According to TDMHSAS data, about 4 percent of adolescents age 12-17 and 13 percent of transitional youth age 18 to 24 in the focus area are dependent on or abuse alcohol, while about 4 percent and 6 percent are dependent on or abuse illicit drugs, respectively. As a state, Tennessee ranks in the top 10 nationwide for highest prescription drug use among youth in grades 9-12, and about 13 percent of transitional youth report using prescription pain relievers for nonmedical uses.

As part of the TRY program, the TDMHSAS will collaborate with other state agencies – including the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS), the Tennessee Department of Education (DOE), the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH), and the Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS) – to create a feedback loop that will allow TRY to identify barriers and test solutions in real time. This will help enhance statewide efforts to increase access and improve treatment quality for adolescents and youth with substance use disorders.

For more information about Centerstone of Tennessee, call John Page at (615) 463-6627 or go online to For more information about Pathways of Tennessee, call Pam Henson at (731)-541-8270 or go online to For more information about TDMHSAS or the TRY program, contact Michael Rabkin, TDMHSAS Director of Communications, at or (615) 532-6597.


The mission of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services is to plan for and promote the availability of a comprehensive array of quality prevention, early intervention, treatment, habilitation and rehabilitation services and supports based on the needs and choices of individuals and families served. For more information, visit

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