Alabama Helps Addicted Adolescents Recover from Substance Abuse with Continuing Care

Advancing Recovery: State and Provider Partnerships for Quality Addiction Care

Field of Work: Improving the use of evidence-based addiction treatment in Alabama

Problem Synopsis: Reducing the high relapse rate among adolescents referred to outpatient programs after discharge from residential treatment.

Synopsis of the Work: Participating Alabama treatment agencies provide all of the publicly funded residential substance abuse treatment for adolescents in the state and approximately 65 percent of its publicly funded outpatient services.

Partner agencies and the state Substance Abuse Services Division joined with two providers of residential treatment for adolescents and an outpatient provider to implement continuing care as their evidence-based practice.

"Teens and their families knew they would be followed by a continuing care provider and receive the support they need to maintain a recovery mindset during the stressful transition period. This was a significant change from the past practice of merely recommending continuing involvement in treatment with little or no follow through," according to Project Director Tammy Peacock, PhD.

Key Results:

  • Over the two-year grant period, 365 youth received a referral from residential to continuing care (218 in year one and 147 in year two). More than half (58%) of the youth successfully transitioned into continuing care in their community (119 in year one and 93 in year two).
    • Under the new system, making an appointment with continuing care providers became an integral part of the discharge planning process from residential treatment.
  • Substance Abuse Services Division staff reached out to other state agencies and stakeholders who also serve substance-using adolescents. Among these were the Department of Youth Services (which operates juvenile correctional school systems) and the Administrative Office of Courts (which operates juvenile drug courts and oversees juvenile judges).