Kelli Stephens


Breaking the Cycle of Addiction: Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Treatment & Prevention


Adolescent substance use disorder (SUD) continues to be a growing concern within society today. Rates of substance use continue to climb while treatment measures remain limited for this population. This capstone presentation focuses on treatment measures for SUD for the adolescent population. It highlights the benefits of family support throughout the treatment process and the impact that parental knowledge and awareness have on decreasing rates of SUD. It identifies common barriers adolescents face when trying to find SUD treatment. It also discusses the impact that pharmacotherapy treatment measures have and how using this type of treatment can impact the adolescent. The presentation includes an overview of the problem and a review of extant literature. It addresses the impact that stress and environmental factors have on mental health and behavioral choices for adolescents. It also introduces a practice application concept centered around a family therapeutic approach which focuses on stabilizing the immediate family and regaining homeostasis within the home.


Kelli Stephens is a Certified Social Worker in the state of Kentucky. She completed her undergraduate degree with a Bachelor of Arts at Eastern Kentucky University in 2019 and then went on to obtain her Master of Social Work degree from the Carver School of Social Work at Campbellsville University in 2021. Kelli is currently a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Kentucky College of Social Work with a focus in Clinical Social Work. Her anticipated graduation date is May 2024. Kelli’s research focus and capstone project is on the treatment and prevention of adolescent substance use disorder. This research is fueled by her passion to help people suffering from addiction recover and find their voice in the world.

Kelli began her social work career at the Department of Veterans Affairs. She then moved into substance use treatment working in transitional living facilities where she provided a therapeutic aspect specializing in addiction and trauma therapy. Kelli currently works at a private practice in Richmond, Kentucky providing psychotherapy for mental health issues. She is in the process of opening her own private practice called Embrace the Wellness which will specialize in treating mental health and substance use disorders.