Study shows positive impact of Recovery Kentucky Substance Abuse Treatment Centers


LEXINGTON, Ky. – Governor Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear announced a new report  that finds state-supported residential facilities for individuals with substance abuse problems save taxpayer dollars and are effective in helping people abstain from alcohol and drugs. 

The report, from the University of Kentucky Center on Drug and Alcohol Research (CDAR), shows that individuals who enroll in substance abuse programs at one of the state’s ten Recovery Kentucky Centers are more likely to abstain from drugs and are less likely to spend time in jail.  

”The results of this study confirm what we already knew to be true – that a well-designed and supportive housing and recovery program can have significant success in helping men and women recover from the scourge of addiction,” said Gov. Beshear.  “So many families and communities have been damaged because of drug and alcohol addiction, and Recovery Kentucky centers have proven they have found a good system of treatment and support to help residents succeed after completing their program.”

CDAR conducted interviews with a random sample of Recovery Kentucky program participants approximately one year after the participants had entered the program. The 12 month follow-up results showed:  

  • Decreased Alcohol and Drug Dependency – 93 percent of participants reported being abstinent from alcohol, 88 percent of participants reported being abstinent from drugs; 
  • Increased Recovery Support Involvement – 81 percent of participants reported going to mutual help recovery group meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous;
  • Decreased Criminal Justice Involvement – the number of participants who reported spending time in jail or prison decreased by 74 percent; 
  • Satisfaction with Recovery Kentucky Centers – Participants on average rated their Recovery Kentucky Center experience at 8.7 on a scale of 1-10, with 10 representing the best experience 

The report also found significant cost savings attributed to Recovery Kentucky center participation.  Every dollar spent on recovery services resulted in a $2.92 return in avoided costs to the state.  Savings are attributed to tax dollars that would have been spent on unemployment services, health aid, public safety and other services the state provides for substance-dependent individuals.  

“Shortly after Steve took office in 2008, I visited a Recovery Kentucky Center for the first time and spoke with women who were in the program and also those who had completed their treatment and returned to help others get their lives back on track,” said Mrs. Beshear, co-chair of the Recovery Kentucky Task Force.  “Since that day, I have been an avid believer in the unique peer-based treatment and long-term care these centers offer.  I am so pleased that this study provides substantial evidence that shows Recovery Kentucky Centers are an indispensible resource to our state.”

“The two major findings of this report show that Recovery Center services result in outcomes very much in line with treatment outcomes. Thus, these preliminary findings suggest that investing in Recovery Centers adds to Kentucky’s effort to reduce the effects of severe drug and alcohol problems,” said Robert Walker, assistant professor in the Department of Behavioral Science, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, and a faculty member of the UK Center on Drug and Alcohol Research. 

Recovery Kentucky is a joint effort by the Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC), the Department for Local Government (DLG) and the Kentucky Department of Corrections.  Currently, there are ten Recovery Kentucky Centers across the state, five dedicated to men’s services and five dedicated to women’s services.  

“Kentucky Housing Corporation is proud to be a part of the Recovery Kentucky initiative,” said Richard L. McQuady, chief executive officer of KHC.  “It is making sustainable impacts for those who need and want recovery.”   

Recovery Kentucky Task Force 

In 2008, Gov. Steve Beshear established the Recovery Kentucky Task Force.  The 21-member task force ensures the continued effectiveness and financial success of the Recovery Kentucky program, which results in reduced public costs to the state’s justice and corrections system while furthering Kentucky’s economic development and per capita income goals.  

“Substance abuse treatment is a thorough, complicated process and addiction is something people are afflicted with their entire lives,” said Don Ball, co-chair of the Recovery Kentucky Task Force.  “Recovery Kentucky centers understand the unique treatment substance-dependent individuals need by providing them with long-term housing and support in order to give them a real chance of staying drug and alcohol free.” 

For more information on Recovery Kentucky Centers, click here.

For a copy of the complete study, click here.