Joint Effort Assists with Adolescent Addiction, Learning and Recovery

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Fairbanks, Hope Academy and Indiana Wesleyan University announce The Adolescent Addiction, Learning and Recovery Project (AALRP) formed to investigate the impact that substance use disorders (SUDs) have on student learning and school success, as well as the effect that personal recovery will have on student learning and school success.

The joint effort combines the expertise of staff from Fairbanks, a not-for-profit drug and alcohol treatment center in Indianapolis, Indiana, Hope Academy, the recovery high school as Fairbanks, and the Addictions Counseling faculty at Indiana Wesleyan University, Marion, Indiana.
In a 2011 national study conducted by the University of Michigan, illicit drug use by 10th graders in the past 30 days was 19.2% and alcohol use for the same age over the past 30 days was 27.2%.

"This is a unique project," said Dr. Richard Hooker, associate professor of Addictions Counseling and project coordinator. "We have a nationally recognized treatment provider, a ground breaking public charter school for students in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, and a university known for its contributions to the addictions field collaborating together to find real-world solution to helping students affected by alcohol and other drugs. This project has enormous potential."

"It is the goal of Fairbanks and Indiana Wesleyan University to create a supportive environment in Central Indiana to explore, share and impact the strategies of prevention and the recovery of substance abuse disorders," said Charlotte Pontius, director of Program Development and Outreach. "We are excited about the partnership with Indiana Wesleyan University and ook forward to starting the project."

Project findings will serve as a research incubator that promotes a new generation of addiction/recovery investigations aiding educators and youth-serving professionals with:

  • The only known website focused entirely on how student substance use negatively impacts learning; and conversely, how sobriety and personal recovery restore positive outcomes
  • Website contents tailored to practitioners, providing them with relevant information, tools and strategies that equip them to support substance-impacted (SI) student sobriety and recovery, and to promote student learning and educational success
  • Relevant research translated into short, readable, professionally-friendly reviews where findings are framed for practical application
  • Opportunities for educator/practitioners to give input into the issues they face when working with SI students
  • Teaching tips focusing on practical classroom and guidance issues
  • Research-based professional publications concerning topics relevant to educators and practitioners

AALRP's Leadership Committee will function as the collective executive of the project and will consist of four Fairbanks/Hope Academy staff and four IWU staff. The Fairbanks/Hope Academy staff consists of Director of Program Development and Outreach Charlotte Pontius, Hope Academy Chief Operating Officer Rachelle Gardner, Project Director Dr. Sigurd Zielke and Dr. Mary Jo Rattermann. IWU staff consists of Associate Professor of Addictions Counseling and Project Coordinator Dr. Richard Hooker, School of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Business Associate Dean Dr. Stacy Hammons, Division of Behavioral Sciences Chair Dr. BJ Fratzke and Psychology Professor Dr. Betsye Robinette.

The five-year project begins January 1, 2013.


Indiana Wesleyan University is an evangelical Christian comprehensive university of The Wesleyan Church, which has its world headquarters in Indianapolis. The University was founded in 1920, and is committed to liberal arts and professional education.

More than 3,200 students are enrolled in traditional programs on the University's main campus in Marion. Another 12,200 adult learners attend classes at education centers in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, and online.

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