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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

Maryland and Minnesota Researchers Receive Grant to Evaluate Substance Abuse Recovery Program for Young Adults

Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Public Health and the University of Minnesota School of Medicine have been awarded a three-year, $300,000 research grant to evaluate the Alberta Adolescent Recovery Centre (AARC) a Calgary, Canada-based, not-for profit treatment center, established in 1992. The University System of Maryland Foundation announced the grant award, which came from an unnamed donor.

AARC is a unique program for adolescents and young adults (ages 12 to 21) who are facing substance dependency and co-morbidity disorders. AARC has provided comprehensive assessment, treatment, and recovery services to more than 500 graduates and their families to date.

Dr. Amelia M. Arria, associate professor in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health and the director of the Center on Young Adult Healthand Development at the University of Maryland School of Public Health is the principal investigator. Dr. Ken C. Winters, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and the director of the Center forAdolescent Substance Abuse Research at the University of Minnesota is the co-investigator. Ms. Jackie Smith, AARC community intervention educator will be a consultant throughout the project period.

The grant will allow these independent researchers to work with AARC to conduct retrospective interviews with a sample of program participants and assess the impact of attending AARC on standard measures of drug abstinence, psychosocial and academic functioning, and health. Research has advanced our understanding of how to effectively intervene with adolescents to prevent the escalation of drug problems, how to treat substance use disorder, and how to promote long-term recovery. Research studies highlight the need for comprehensive care-to take into account family factors, the unique developmental needs of adolescents, as well as understand the social context and other features of the adolescent’s environment in order to effectively manage the problem.

Despite these research findings, few real-world treatment programs utilize these suggested

comprehensive approaches. In-depth examination and systematic evaluation of the AARC approach can lead to a greater understanding of how evidence-based practices are implemented in a real-world setting with adolescents who are severely affected by substance use and the long-term impact of such interventions.

In addition to the goal of evaluating the AARC program, the proposed project will bridge research findings with practice by holding an educational conference on adolescent addiction and recovery inCalgary as a mechanism for promoting change at the levels of both policy and clinical practice.

For further information, please feel free to contact:

Dr. Amelia M. Arria- aarria@umd.edu

Dr. Ken C. Winters- winte001@umn.edu

Ms. Jackie Smith- jsmith@aarc.ab.ca