State Expands Substance Abuse Treatment Program

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) is adding seven new team members and 19 counties to its recovery navigator program, bringing the total number of navigators to 19 and the number of counties served to 32.

Started in summer 2018, the navigators are people in long-term recovery from substance use disorders who serve as access points to treatment and recovery resources. The navigators maintain a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist certification to use their experience to help others.

With the expansion, the program is adding coverage in rural areas at both ends of the state, the Cumberland Plateau and suburban areas around Nashville. The expanded reach means navigators now will be able to serve the 10 Tennessee counties where overdose death rates are the highest.

Since June 2018, navigators have met with more than 620 people.

Original program funding came from a state appropriation included in the FY19 budget. This expansion is funded by a federal grant through the Victims of Crime Act. Community providers adding or expanding services with this new funding include:

  • Buffalo Valley, Inc. (Montgomery and Wilson Counties)
  • Frontier Health (Hancock and Johnson Counties)
  • Helen Ross McNabb Center (Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Hamblen and Jefferson Counties)
  • Pathways Behavioral Health (Benton, Chester, Crockett, Dyer, Gibson, Hardeman, Haywood, Madison and Weakley Counties)
  • Volunteer Behavioral Health Care System (Putnam County)

For more information, go to or contact Mike Dietrich at THA, 615-401-7459.