Courtney Farrell


“What do we do now?”: A Comprehensive Solution to Adolescent Substance Use


Substance use among adolescents is a growing concern with grave societal and personal impacts. There is a large gap in treatment options for this population. This presentation provides an overview of adolescent substance use and current treatment options. Barriers to obtaining appropriate substance use treatment and the lack of higher-level care options are explored. Finally, a comprehensive, wrap-around treatment center is proposed to mitigate barriers and promote social justice, as well as work to de-stigmatize adolescent substance use. The presentation will discuss how this treatment center would promote holistic and preventative care through a systems-based approach. Finally, this presentation outlines the next steps to implement this treatment approach and create a call to action for social workers.


Courtney Farrell is a doctoral candidate at the University of Kentucky and is set to graduate in May of 2024. Courtney completed her undergraduate degree in social work from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, and holds a master’s degree in social work with a specialization in substance use from The Ohio State University. She has worked in a variety of settings including schools and inpatient treatment centers, but her passion lies with treating substance use among adolescents. Courtney currently serves as a mental health and substance use therapist for adolescents. She engages in individual and family therapy in a community-based setting at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Courtney’s area of interest within her research is mitigating gaps in adolescent substance use treatment. She proposes a comprehensive, wrap-around treatment model to eliminate barriers and lack of providers and treatment options for adolescent substance use. She desires to never have to tell a family that there are no services available for their child and family.

​Courtney graduated summa cum laude from both Taylor University and The Ohio State University. She holds multiple licenses in the state of Ohio including Licensed Independent Social Worker with a Supervisory designation and Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor. She has been a representative for Nationwide Children’s Hospital and On Our Sleeves to provide training on treating adolescent substance use within the hospital, as well as appeared on a local news channel to provide education on breaking the stigma around adolescent substance use. She continues to be an advocate for her clients within the community and mitigate gaps for families experiencing substance use concerns.