UK To Start Substance Abuse Program Targeting Adolescents

May 19, 2014

UK will use a new $1.5 M grant to craft a program for the prevention and treatment of substance abuse among adolescents.

The UK Kentucky Kids Recovery project will be led by Dr. Catherine Martin, director of the division for child and adolescent psychiatry.  She says the goal is to develop a start to finish plan with proven methods of treatment.

"One example is cognitive behavioral therapy that is tracked for adolescents with substance abuse.  This is where you get them to examine their choices, how they're making them and think through things in a better, more thoughtful way.  Another example is called functional family therapy where you actually look at the whole system of the family to see how they are impacting on each other," Martin said.

Dr. Martin adds that follow-up will be vitally important for either long-term recovery or curbing addictive behaviors.

"We will be monitoring the number of adolescents and families seen, how many adolescents have a reduction in use, and actual cessation, how the kids are doing in school, how they are doing with their families and friends, and meeting their goals.  We will also be tracking the number of providers engaged and learning from us," Martin said.

The money comes from settlement funds that are administered by the Substance Abuse Treatment Advisory Committee, which is chaired by Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway.

"Adolescent substance abuse is at epidemic proportions.  The UK Kentucky Kids Recovery program will train providers in adolescent treatment.  We certainly have the need.  What we need is the expertise," Conway said.

In announcing the grant he cited a 2011 study from the Centers For Disease Control which showed 66 percent of Kentucky kids reported using alcohol, 37 percent had used marijuana, and 19 percent had admitted to abusing prescription drugs.