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The Tennessee Tribune – HUD Secretary Ben Carson Comes to Nashville

NASHVILLE, TN – Last week Congress passed the $3.3 billion Support for Patients and Communities Act to address the national opioid crisis. The day after it passed, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson visited The Next Door Recovery Center in Nashville. 

In 2017, 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, the highest number ever.

The federal Centers for Disease Control say 47,500 of those deaths involved opioids. A parallel to the current crisis is the AIDS epidemic which killed 50,000 in the U.S in 1995, the highest number in any year. So opioids are killing more people than AIDs ever did and the killing is not nearly over. It hasn’t even slowed down.

Carson toured the facility on 22nd  Ave where 82 women are in recovery, many from addiction to pills. Melissa Newman-Brewer sat next to Carson on a couch and told him after staying clean for nine years she had a relapse and re-entered the program. “Are you clean now?” Carson asked her. “Eighteen months” she said. 

When women come to The Next Door they “roll in on two wheels” and the staff is like a MASH unit. Withdrawal takes three days and the detox unit can handle a dozen patients. After that recovery starts with seventy other women who get residential care and live in two-person dorm rooms. They get a variety of services and therapy. There are 21 units of affordable housing across the alley where women can reintegrate, find jobs, and rejoin their families. 

The treatment program delivers medical and mental health services and relies heavily on the 12-step recovery program. There is a chapel and it is used by individuals and groups.

“The thing that is most import is the continuum of care. Even after they complete detoxification, you still need a support system,” Carson said. He said he wanted to come visit The Next Door because of its reputation as a place that recognizes that.

“I’m always thrilled to see people who are willing to sacrifice themselves to make sure that life is better for other people,” he said.  

The 1,500 women who find help at The Next Door are lucky. The center has an $8 million budget. About $750,000 comes from federal programs and HUD gives about $100,000 annually. Four and a half million comes from Medicaid, Medicare, TennCare and other medical insurance. The remaining $2.5 million of the operating budget comes from private donations.

Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control say the necessary amount to really treat opioid addiction is $78.5 billion a year. A measly $3.3 billion will not stem the tsunami of opioid overdose deaths. At that level of cure, some estimates predict that hundreds of thousands more will die in the next decade.

Addiction experts say just throwing money at the problem won’t fix it either. According to Sarah Wakeman, an addiction specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital, most addiction treatment programs don’t treat addicts like a patient with a chronic disease, yet that is what they have. She said the country must mount a campaign on a par with our response to HIV/AIDS.  “It will require a massive infusion of funding and a fundamental restructuring of how we treat addiction in this country,” Wakeman said.  

Times Free Press – Ex-Convict Looking to Wipe Slate Clean Gets Help from Neediest Cases Fund

A little more than six years since killing her live-in boyfriend of 14 years during an argument, Dareece Carruthers smiled as she anticipated the new year just days away.

“It’s like I have a clean sheet of paper,” she said. “I just feel optimistic, I do. I don’t know anybody, and I have no distractions. I can stay focused and know what I need to do. It feels good.”

Carruthers is in her own apartment on Ocoee Street just two months after being released from Next Door, a transition program for females coming out of the prison system. She spent 175 days at Next Door after six and a half years in three Tennessee prisons for the criminal homicide of Jocquis Guinn, the father of her two children. The Chattanooga Times Free Press Neediest Cases Fund provided Carruthers with her first month’s rent of $650.

“In my final 75 days, I had to develop a housing plan for myself,” Carruthers said. “Time was getting short on the apartment, and the first month’s rent was the last piece. I wouldn’t be here today without that help.”

Carruthers started dating Guinn when she was 14, eventually living with him and their children. Over time, domestic violence became part of Carruthers’ life and, due to her choice not to involve law enforcement, the abuse remained virtually unknown to her family or neighbors in north Nashville.

“It was an abusive relationship, but I just didn’t pick up the phone and call the police,” said Carruthers, now 34. “I was constantly getting abused mentally, emotionally and physically. I endured a lot of stuff for a lot of years and didn’t tell anyone. One night he was beating on me, and I just picked up a knife and stabbed him. To this day, I still blame myself. He didn’t deserve to die.”

The Metro Nashville Police Madison Precinct’s Facebook page still carries the account from June 9, 2012, when police responded to a call at 3212 Woodstock Drive and found the 33-year-old Guinn dead. According to the report, “the investigation showed that Carruthers stabbed Guinn during an argument at 5:15 a.m. There is no previous history of domestic violence between Carruthers and Guinn known to the police department. Carruthers has been in custody since the stabbing.”

Carruthers later was charged with criminal homicide. At 28, she was convicted and sentenced to 15-30 years behind bars. She spent her first year at the Tennessee Prison for Women in Nashville bucking the rules and getting into trouble. At the end of the second year, Carruthers asked for a transfer to a smaller prison facility in Memphis, even though it meant not seeing her children except for two or three times a year, versus every weekend in Nashville.

“I was just doing what I wanted to do, doing what I needed to do to survive,” Carruthers said. “After getting all the write-ups for getting into trouble, I just realized that I couldn’t keep going down this route. It sounds selfish, but I had to go to Memphis because I knew I had to make myself better in order to help my children when I got out.”

Carruthers knew the smaller facility in Memphis offered more opportunities to learn a trade, and in her three years there she earned enough credits to be a cosmetologist. She was assigned to Next Door as part of her parole. Next Door is a nonprofit organization located at Moccasin Bend that partners with the Tennessee Department of Corrections and provides short-term transitional services for women. The state and Next Door opened the first correction release center in 2011, and it has served about 100 women per year, according to the agency.

Carruthers received one-on-one counseling and group therapy at Next Door. In her final 75 days, she applied for jobs online, went to interviews and eventually landed a position at a fast-food chain in Hixson. She was released from Next Door on Oct. 27 and took occupancy of her new apartment on the same day. She continues to work full time and is searching for a second job. She is looking forward to May when she will be reunited with her children, now 14 and 10. Eventually, she will take her final exam to become a cosmetologist.

“Right now, I am just wanting a second job and a chance to settle into living here,” Carruthers said. “Eventually, I will take the cosmetology test.”

The Neediest Cases Fund was started by Chattanooga Times Publisher Adolph Ochs in 1914 and is administered by the United Way of Greater Chattanooga. Contributions to the Neediest Cases Fund were $39,124 in 2017.

Contributions to the fund will continue through the end of this month, and people can donate using the coupon accompanying this story or online at The fund had raised $36,698.99 through Friday. In addition, at the website you can read about fund cases from this year and 2017.

Contact Davis Lundy at


WKRN – Nashville Recovery Center Focuses on Helping Women in Crisis

By: Samantha Fisher

“The first three times was when I first started doing it, and I just went out and had friends that got me in the shower and brought me back,” she told News 2. She overdosed for a fifth time in the bathroom where she worked, after which she decided it was a critical time to get help.

“I didn’t want to die, especially like that. The pain I was putting my family through was tormenting,” Cook said.

Her drug addiction has left a trail of broken relationships, including losing custody of her son.

“Just felt terrible about it, about myself. Just something missing, and so that’s just what drove me to do it,” explained the now-recovering addict.

At The Next Door recovery facility for women, Cook could safely detox from heroin and receive intensive care both physically and psychologically.

Coordinator and counselor Lanjericha Finch says she treats many women suffering with that addiction.

“The mission of The Next Door is really to provide a continuum of services for women that are dealing with addiction, dealing with mental illness, that are dealing with trauma or incarceration to help them and their families and we really strive to provide that with Christ centered compassionate care,” she explained.

Finch says she’s seeing more women come into the facility addicted to heroin, and many are young.

“We’re seeing them come in and the younger they are the less life skills they have the less coping skills they have, the less insight they have,” she told News 2.

There’s also a stigma associated with drug addiction that can make rehabilitation more difficult.

Williamson County Sheriff Jeff Long says efforts are made to help addicts who become incarcerated, but more recovery facilities are needed.

“We’ve got to try to turn the tide by getting some treatment facilities that will accept these people,” Long said.

He continued, “Trying to get some programs that will help to get them diverted and get them back on the right track.”

The sheriff told News 2 the problem is everywhere, and the drug itself is more intense and deadly.

“We’re seeing the people mix it with different things, and it’s deadly when they start mixing it, in particular with Fentanyl is the real dangerous thing we’re facing,” Long explained.

Cook knows the odds of staying off heroin after rehab are not in her favor. That’s why she’s transitioning to a sober living community as she prepares the exit The Next Door.

“It’s just gonna be great to live life sober we take walks to the park, a whole different ball game. It’s beautiful. Never really noticed it. Just a whole new outlook on life,” she said.

To learn more about The Next Door, which is located just off Charlotte Avenue near Midtown, visit their website at They are a women-only facility.


Nashville Lifestyles – 5 Local Organizations Led by Women

As Nashville changes, so too do its most pressing issues. From opioid addiction to human trafficking, a rare genetic disease, and art in the classroom, these needs are being met by a group of strong women who have risen up by necessity, calling, and passion.

Nashville Predators Foundation

Launched concurrently with the NHL franchise in 1998, the Predators Foundation has grown at the same pace. In its inaugural year, it doled out a respectable $150,000 to local charities focused on youths and families. Fast forward to 2017, the second year in a row its namesake team made the playoffs, and it dispersed $600,000 in one day—only a part of a total $2 million that year.

Being nestled under a pro sports team has its perks, the main being low overhead: Its office is housed with the rest of the team, and its employees draw salaries from the same. This allows nearly all funds, which it raises through events like fishing tournaments and home-game merchandise auctions, to be pumped right back into charities.

“Our goal,” says community relations senior director, Rebecca King, “is always to raise more money and to give more money.”

While longtime partners such as Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, the YWCA, and the playground-building KaBOOM!, receive substantial sums, its greatest impact comes from micro grants between $5,000 and $10,000, which spreads its resources over a broad range of organizations, including some in this feature.

Tennessee Performing Arts Center

Roberta Ciuffo West leans in and says, very earnestly, “Since the beginning of time, the arts have been pivotal to advancing society.”

With this underlying belief, then, it’s no wonder that the Manhattan native and executive vice president of education and outreach for the organization is passionate about being a resource for both students and teachers, who themselves are the future of Middle Tennessee. Bussing in groups to watch matinee performances of some of the biggest traveling Broadway shows is a major part of the nonprofit’s work—more than 40,000 attend every year. But the greater part of its efforts takes place far from its stage.

Under Ciuffo West’s guidance for the past 20 years, TPAC has taken the theater to the schools. Its Disney program pairs directors with the students to put on fairy tales in the classroom, and it curates myriad lesson plans for teachers that incorporate the art with a number of core subjects. But its most time-intensive program is the residencies. Almost 400 visits every year are facilitated, with performers like puppeteers and musicians performing in the classroom.

“It’s in people’s DNA to want to be heard,” she says, “and when they are heard, good things happen.”

Project Alive

When Melissa Hogan’s son, Case, was diagnosed with Hunter Syndrome, her horror didn’t come from the expected mid-teens mortality rate.

“It was that he was going to lose everything,” she says of the disease’s debilitation, “and then die.”

Case, now 11, was fortunate to be selected for a groundbreaking clinical trial. But other parents weren’t as lucky.

“With the slow pace of medical science, this was not going to get to the point of FDA approval,” she says. “We knew that it would take lots of hustle, and we didn’t see anyone else doing it.”

Hogan, a lawyer by profession, founded Project Alive in 2014, a year after Case’s treatment began. The organization raises funds to one day cure the disease. Experimental gene therapy is on the horizon, but the disease’s rarity—only around 2,000 cases are documented around the world currently—has meant that private donations are its main focus.

Nevertheless, Hogan is forging ahead, even as she cares for her son: “I felt like I had the bandwidth,” she says, “because my kid was doing OK.”

End Slavery Tennessee

When Derri Smith spoke with state congressmen about human trafficking in their districts, they flat-out denied a problem. Smith didn’t blame them—it was only 14 years ago that she herself discovered it, explaining it as the relationship between sex, money, and coercion, often of children.

“It’s every kind of social injustice rolled into one,” the 36-year Nashvillian says. But in End Slavery Tennessee’s six-year history, Smith’s tireless drilling down into Middle Tennessee’s under-our-noses issue has created both increased awareness and, maybe, most importantly, a pocket in which traffickers know is risky to operate.

“Small, regional work is the only way to be effective,” Smith says. “We have to be small enough that we can give the attention to each survivor that they need.”

Of the more than 200 women who came through its doors last year seeking shelter, counseling, and a community, 80 percent were from Davidson and surrounding counties. They are also overwhelmingly women. But with a beachhead established, Smith’s team now turns its attention to labor trafficking, of which she will again learn its nuances and then advocate for public policy.

The Next Door

The “Wild Group of Praying Women” from First Baptist Church Nashville had a building, but no mission. That’s the way Linda Leathers, CEO of The Next Door, recounts her organization’s genesis story (pun intended) from 11 years ago. The original property, at 8th and Demonbreun, was lying fallow, so Leathers and her team went to the Lord and a host of Nashville charitable organizations to find out the community’s needs. The near universal response came back: women’s addiction services were in short supply.

While TND started as a midpoint between incarceration and reintroduction to society, its scope has since broadened, and it now focuses its efforts on both in- and outpatient services for addiction and mental illness. No woman, regardless of economic situation, is turned away, and its capacity has risen with demand. Its new headquarters, at 22nd and Charlotte, holds 82 inpatient beds, medically monitored detox, licensed therapists, and weekly meetings for program alumni. In an adjacent building, transitional housing is available for more than 20 families. But while its mission has remained constant, women’s needs are changing, and clients from all walks of life are arriving with opioid addictions.

“We want to break the stigma of addiction,” Leathers says. “It’s become everyone’s disease.”

WSMV News 4, Nashville – Fewer Women Than Men Receiving Treatment for Addiction

Fewer women are getting the treatment they need in Tennessee when it comes to addiction. Experts say women have access to a quarter of the number of treatment beds that men do.

The reason, according to the Tennessee Association of Alcohol, Drug, and other Addiction Services, is that women are often times forced to choose between their families and getting treatment. Because most women choose family, facilities can’t provide the resources they need.

“I receive a call or so a month that sounds like this: ‘I need your help getting my daughter or granddaughter, son, grandson, arrested because they’re addicted and need help and the only we can get help is to get them arrested,’” said Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall. “You need to provide services in the community that do not require you to go to court to get them.”

Inmates wait, he said, an average of 40 to 50 days to get a bed at treatment center. But, according to the executive director of TAADAS, the people who do get beds are most likely men.

“Women are more often the caregivers for their families,” said Mary-Linden Salter, “So they either have to leave home and leave their children behind, or leave adults [and] relatives behind. For them to receive treatment, they have to figure out how to take care of their families while they’re gone.”

There are 46 licensed detox centers in Tennessee. Of those, 37 take women, but only 12 take pregnant women.

“Family is one of the chief motivations for women to actually get into treatment because they want to maintain their family,” Salter explained.

But, she said, there are currently no standards for family residential care in Tennessee and many women are faced with the possibility of losing custody if they go to treatment.

“They’re going to keep their children, and they’re going to figure out how to make it work,” Salter said.


Here’s a list of detox centers that accept women in Middle Tennessee:

  • Brentwood Springs LLC – Brentwood
  • Mirror Lake Recovery Center – Burns
  • Plateau Mental Health Center – Cookeville
  • Buffalo Valley – Howenwald, Lewisburg, Nashville
  • JourneyPure at the River – Murfreesboro
  • Cumberland Heights – Nashville
  • Lloyd C. Elam Mental Health Center – Nashville
  • Mending Hearts – Nashville
  • The Next Door Inc. – Nashville
  • The Ranch – Nunnelly

News Channel 5 – Compassion in Action

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — All around Nashville we see it — Compassion In Action. For more than 15 years, “The Next Door” has been helping women fight addiction.

Monika Stafford says she was scared to leave her hometown and move to Nashville. Stafford is one of 21 women and 23 children who live at “The Next Door.” She had lost her kids through addiction and found the non-profit after some jail time.

Kristy Pomeroy is the Community Services Manager. She says the affordable housing community helps women battling addiction, with services on-site. “Being able to provide those services not just in our treatment center but in-house – it’s just greatly needed,” she said. Pomeroy says over the years, the substances may change, but the need for compassion hasn’t.

“We have definitely seen the ups and downs of different substances. What we are seeing with the opioid epidemic is definitely different. The face of addiction looks different,” she said.

“The Next Door” and Monika Stafford each received a $1,000 gift card provided by Kroger as part of our “Compassion in Action” project.

WVLT 8 – Miss Tennessee Talks About Her Dad’s Suicide and His Drug Abuse

Addiction is a disease that touches almost every person in Tennessee, even Miss Tennessee.

One in six people in Tennessee are misusing drugs, according to the CDC.

Local 8 News Anchor Lauren Davis spoke to Caty Davis who knows what it’s like to lose someone to addiction.

Behind the classic blonde hair and the crown, this Powell native has a heart of hurt. Miss Tennessee Caty Davis says, “My father was an addict, and three years ago on June 11, he committed suicide.”

Instead of letting that addiction define her, she’s using her title as Miss Tennessee to empower families affected by substance abuse. Caty Davis says, “It’s also about me visiting recovery centers and raising money for children dependent on opioids.”

She says every 25 minutes a baby is born dependent on drugs in the United States, and Tennessee is three times the national average.

Caty has raised three thousand dollars so far for the babies born addicted to drugs. She says, “The tiniest and most innocent are affected by this addiction epidemic.”

Caty walks on bringing awareness and educating as many people as she can.

If you would like to help Caty raise money for drug dependent babies, she’s having “Spray for a Cause” on July 14-16 at Sun Tan City. You get a free Versa Pro Spray Tan with a $5 donation to “Addiction Doesn’t Define Me”.

For more information go to


The Tennessean – Nashville’s Top Workplaces: 2017 Winners



Small companies

1. Peachtree Planning
Local employees: 40

2. Barbershop Harmony Society
Local employees: 35

3. Accurate Mortgage Group
Local employees: 42

4. Hastings Architecture, LLC
Local employees: 59

5. Thompson Nashville
Local employees: 84

6. Paradigm Group
Local employees: 42

7. Acopia, LLC
Local employees: 109

8. Rolling Hills Community Church
Local employees: 38

9. Care Supply Co, LLC
Local employees: 62

10. Concept Technology, Inc.
Local employees: 47

11. Entrada
Local employees: 43

12. International Scholarship and Tuition Services, Inc.
Local employees: 47

13. DSi
Local employees: 64

14. Aerotek
Local employees: 37

15. Houzz
Local employees: 73

16. American Income Life
Local employees: 71

17. McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations
Local employees: 68

18. Primary Care & Hope Clinic
Local employees: 79

19. WGU Tennessee
Local employees: 53

20. Workforce Essentials, Inc.
Local employees: 45

21. Kimbro Oil Company
Local employees: 55

22. Richards & Richards
Local employees: 53

23. High Hopes Development Center
Local employees: 58

24. Hendersonville Christian Academy
Local employees: 52

Local employees: 70

26. Insight Global
Local employees: 68

27. axialHealthcare
Local employees: 42

28. InfoWorks
Local employees: 100

29. TEK Systems
Local employees: 37

30. Saint Joseph School
Local employees: 39

31. Freeland Chevrolet
Local employees: 110

32. Logo Brands Inc.
Local employees: 50

33. PICA, a ProAssurance Company
Local employees: 109

34. LOGICFORCE Consulting, LLC
Local employees: 40

35. The Next Door, Inc.
Local employees: 123

36. LPS Integration Inc.
Local employees: 71

37. StrategyCorps
Local employees: 43

38. Capital Financial Group, LLC
Local employees: 61

39. Des-Case Corporation
Local employees: 68

40. Saint Bernard Academy
Local employees: 54

41. Biscuit Love
Local employees: 86

42. Tennessee Foundation Services
Local employees, 91

43. JLL
Local employees: 107

44. Metro Carpets, LLC
Local employees: 68

45. Goodall Homes
Local employees: 105

Channel 5 – The Plus Side of Nashville: The Next Door



The Tennessean – Faith-Based Group Aids Women Fighting Addiction

Addiction is a complicated disease, especially for women. Women’s bodies process medication differently, and they experience a higher incidence of depression and anxiety.

Often, as the primary caregivers for their families, women experience increased emotional and financial distress during treatment.

Those are just some of the reasons The Next Door, a faith-based organization in Nashville, offers a wide range of addiction treatment services designed specifically for women. In this Q&A, Chief Clinical Officer Cindy Sneed talks about the challenges women in recovery face and the current opioid crisis in the state.

Why did The Next Door choose to focus on treating women who are addicted to drugs or alcohol?

The women who founded The Next Door were members of a local church congregation. They found an empty building in downtown Nashville that they wanted to put to use in a way that would help others. After completing a community needs analysis, they looked for gaps where they could make a difference. They saw that women who were coming out of incarceration faced multiple barriers and often fell through the cracks when rebuilding their lives. The congregation bought this vacant building on Eighth Avenue that became The Next Door’s first home.

Working with women coming out of incarceration, we quickly recognized the majority of them struggled with addiction, mental illness and trauma, and these challenges impacted the women’s families as well.

Through experience, we learned that clients could do really well when they were in residence, but after they moved out of The Next Door, they continued to struggle with relapse because they had limited to no recovery skills.

We saw the cycle of addiction play out right before our eyes and said, “We can do better.” As a result, we expanded our original mission to include residential addiction treatment.

How did residency affect recovery?

As the residential treatment grew, clients were staying clean and sober longer; as a result, we began to see families coming together in healthier ways. As we further evaluated our clients’ needs, we realized that effective treatment would involve multiple levels of care over a longer period of time. So we added outpatient services and enhanced our recovery support services.

What do you see as the foundation for success with your clients?

Building quality, trusting relationships with our clients.

Working with women requires creating a safe, supportive environment; otherwise, the women we serve cannot begin to make the changes necessary while in treatment.

The collaborative relationship between our clients and our staff is the vehicle for change. Our clients know that when we say, “We will be here for you,” we mean it.

We understand that addiction is a chronic disease and that at some point in the future, our clients may need our services. If they find themselves in a place where they need help again, we have an established relationship, and they can reconnect with us to get the recovery support they need.

What happens when a woman comes to The Next Door for help?

Addiction is a complex disease, and to recover from addiction, a woman has to learn healthy coping skills and develop a quality support system. That begins when they walk in the door.

Our treatment is tailored to each client’s needs and can include:

  • A thorough needs assessment that begins with both medical and psychiatric evaluations.
  • An integrated clinic that provides medical and psychiatric care.
  • A fetal doppler monitor for the babies of our pregnant clients.
  • 24/7 on-site nursing care.
  • Medically monitored detox.

We offer a holistic approach to treatment that includes individual, group and family therapy, and trauma intervention is woven throughout the process.

The Power of Blue
The BlueCross BlueShield Health Foundation has awarded more than $50,000 to The Next Door to help them provide physical, emotional and spiritual rehabilitation for women in crisis, and the foundation provided financial support to help build a KaBOOM! playground on-site. To learn more about how BlueCross is helping your community, visit

This story is provided and presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee

© Copyright - The Next Door, Inc. This project is funded by the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.