Leaders in Anderson County celebrated Wednesday as they launched a new drug treatment program for juveniles, a project that’s taken more than eight years to become reality.
Officials needed to raise $100,000 to start the program, which was done in part with a grant from United Way of Anderson County and other organizations partnering with ASAP of Anderson County, a substance abuse prevention organization.
The program will be called Recovery and Resilience, or R2.
“Many people say we have to break the generational cycle of substance misuse in the community and this is exactly how it’s going to happen,” said Stephanie Strutner, the executive director of ASAP of Anderson County.
Kids will apply through referrals from juvenile court, the school system, DCS or their attorneys. Strutner says there’s a mandatory parent component.
“Each participant will have an assessment, they’ll get substance use treatment if they need it. They’ll have mandatory drug testing and they’ll have therapy, both individual and family therapy. There will also be a group therapy component as well,” said Strutner.
R2 participation, at minimum, will be nine months but it could last a year or however long is needed. Kids will be ale to stay home with their families, go to school, and maintain a sense of normalcy.
“A lot of children who come to court may have an underlying drug issue that’s causing them to have the behaviors they’re dealing with. so if we can get the drug issue addressed, get them treatment that will break the cycle of them having to come back to court,” said Anderson County Juvenile Court Judge Brian Hunt.
Many in Anderson County are looking forward to seeing the difference R2 will soon be making.
“Now they have an another opportunity, second chance at life almost where they can go back and fix those mistakes,” said Trey Noe, an ASAP youth ambassador.
Applications for the program went out on Wednesday. The program will be able to serve up to 39 children within its first year and continue growing from there.
The Tennessee Office of Criminal Justice Program will be providing the funding each year, which is $100,000, to keep this program sustainable.