While many nonprofits across the U.S. scaled back their services to allow for distancing and/or isolation, Adult & Teen Challenge MidSouth, a faith-based residential recovery program for men and women 18-50, continued services throughout 2020. The result is a number of these residents recently completed one or more tier of the program, opening up space for 33 men and 15 women in need of residential recovery counseling.
“This is a remarkable opportunity given the impact of the pandemic on people who are suffering and self-medicating,” says Dr. David McNabb, president of ATCM.
Dr. McNabb said there are two areas of impact – people in isolation and those who ran under the radar while courts were not in session.
“As we begin to turn the corner on the pandemic, we’re reminded that long before the pandemic, we were battling an opioid crisis,” said Dr. McNabb. “The crisis continues but, for the most part, it’s been in isolation.” He continued by saying researchers believe the fallout from the stress of the losses, including loss of loved ones, jobs, opportunities and social interaction, will mean more people struggling from addiction to alcohol and/or drugs.
In addition, 2020 saw a high number of probation violations by substance abusers by substance abusers during COVID that will likely cause a glut of cases before the courts and likely incarcerations, according to Richard H. Hughes, public defender for the tenth district made up of Bradley, Polk, Meigs and Monroe counties.
“Rather than spend the resources on jail time, the obvious answer is a residential recovery program,” said Greg Martin, District 3 commissioner and chairman of the ATCM Board of Directors. He points to the outcomes from a 2019 research that shows 78 percent of graduates, one and three years out, are sober and substance-free.
Commissioner Martin explains the cost ratio of the judicial system over residential recovery is roughly seven to one. “It’s a better use of our money with greater outcomes."
ATCM is approved by the Tennessee Department of Corrections for housing individuals from the judicial system in order to streamline the process, according to Dr. McNabb.
Agencies, public defenders and families wishing to refer to ATCM need only call the main line, 756-5558. “The process is pretty easy,” said Dr. McNabb. “We have a brief application and require a negative COVID test,” adding that people are generally in the program within the day, if seen early enough.
For more information on Adult & Teen Challenge MidSouth, visit tcmidsouth.org or call 756-5558.