Honors Program

University Honors

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Dr. Robert Pack

Thesis Professor Department

Community Health

Thesis Reader(s)

Dr. Megan Quinn


Substance Use Disorder (SUD) has plagued families of rural Appalachia for many years, perpetuating involvement in the criminal justice system as well as generational trauma for people diagnosed with SUD and their children. This points to the necessity of a trauma-informed, restorative-justice based framework for rehabilitative services to most effectively heal families, address trauma, and re-integrate people diagnosed with SUD into society. A restorative justice-based program would provide health care services for addiction and any comorbid mental health disorders as well as teach parents how to properly provide for themselves and their families, manage finances, obtain employment, and further education. Current rehabilitative program structures were evaluated in the literature, and it was found that typically, rehabilitative programs provide either strictly addiction services or mental health services, but not both. It was also found that the criminal justice system tends to sentence to 28-day inpatient rehabilitative services, which provides people diagnosed with SUD an opportunity to achieve sobriety and establish some stability; however, with little or no follow up, these people are significantly more likely to relapse. These findings were compared with the structure of Ballad Health STRONG Futures, an outpatient addiction services and behavioral health clinic located in Greeneville, TN; Red Legacy Recovery, a recovery initiative serving incarcerated women in Elizabethton, TN; and Families Free, a 501(c)3 organization providing outpatient services to Northeast Tennessee through the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. It was found that rehabilitative care structures that addresses trauma, addiction, and aspects of daily living such as parenting, finances, education, and employment provides clients with the tools and stability needed to be successful in their respective recovery journeys. This work will provide significant insight for the creation and implementation of other substance use clinics and initiatives across the country and encourage them to address mental health and aspects of daily living to promote clients' success and break cycles of generational trauma.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Copyright by the authors.