This article was originally published in UKNow.
According to Raenae Moore, a successful substance use disorder program shouldn’t be measured by people completing treatment. Instead, success should be measured by sustainability.
When Moore moved back to the Commonwealth after spending more than 20 years working in government and social services in Maine, she was disheartened by the lack of solutions for people with substance use disorders — particularly for those who came into contact with the criminal justice system.
That’s when Moore, who earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the College of Social Work at the University of Kentucky, became motivated to create long-lasting solutions. And this mission isn’t just professional, it’s personal — in 2014, Moore’s stepson tragically passed away from substance use disorder.
“That’s when I used my entire life savings to start a company, because I realized, helping people with substance use issues is my true passion,” she said. “Treatment is easy. But sustaining sobriety is difficult. Employment is the best relapse prevention program there is.”
While in the planning phase, Moore knew her company had to offer more than just location monitoring and treatment. She also knew technology had to be part of the solution.
In 2018, Moore partnered Lexington-based Corrisoft, and Community Treatment and Tracking Solutions (CTTS) was born.
Working closely with the Department of Corrections, the company helps rehabilitate people struggling with substance use disorders by using innovative treatment and tracking technology. Features of the innovative CTTS app include GPS, video capabilities for 24/7 peer-to-peer support, substance use recovery resources, telemedicine, a child support compliance feature, a resume builder and an outcome measurement tool to track effectiveness of the program.
Additionally, Moore is a partner at RRJ Center for Change — a comprehensive counseling agency which offers mental health counseling, substance use counseling and targeted case management for adults and at-risk youth.
With more than 20 employees, both CTTS and RRJ have served more than 900 people — all of whom are employed (except for four on disability) and are transforming their lives.
Here are just a couple of compelling examples:
- After serving jail time for multiple DUIs and undergoing treatment, a man who had been on disability for 15 years is now working 12-hour days, six days a week and still makes his after-care meetings. “We helped a man provide for his family,” Moore said. “We’re creating social reform. He was mentally crippled from addiction, but now he is addicted to taking care of his family. He tells me he has become addicted to seeing the smiles on his children’s faces.”
- Four women were helped out of abusive situations thanks to one of the features of the CTTS app — a random check-in that takes over the user’s phone until she takes a selfie and GPS verifies her location. Because there was no time for the women to cover up their bruises with makeup, the abuse was identified. The women were moved to emergency shelters, then to other living arrangements. “Many women on probation will go back to their abuser because they are afraid that they will go back to jail if they report it,” Moore said. “One of the women was a nurse who lost her license because of alcohol abuse. She was placed in a sober living house and continues her treatment. After two years of probation, she has had her record expunged and is working to get her nurses license back.”
And when COVID hit, Moore pivoted again. Many treatment centers locked down and didn’t accept new patients, and jails released inmates early with no resources to support them. She quickly moved to telehealth, but that created its own challenges.
“People leave jail with no phone and no data to use the phone,” Moore explained.
She turned to the Kentucky Highlands Innovation Center, which provided mentorship and website training to her in the past. KHIC had a digital inclusion grant from Rural LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation), which is a national community development organization.
Small cash grants were used to pay for equipment, internet service and/or training for 50 clients. Through the program, 24 phones with 90-day phone cards and 10 tablets were distributed. Other clients received assistance to find low-cost broadband service, set up email accounts and learn to use applications like Google Maps to make important appointments.
“For one man who was using heroin, it may have saved his life. He came to us with no money, no internet access and no phone or computer. He had hit rock bottom and was desperate to get better,” Moore said. “We gave him a phone and phone card on the condition that he would download the app and work the program. He is now on the way to recovery.”
All RRJ clients are not only still using their phones and tablets, but they also continue to be engaged in the recovery process. “The grant helped people get access to treatment for the first time in their lives,” Moore explained. “They might have been able to avoid the corrections system altogether if they’d had access earlier. We were able to bring the treatment to them.”
Moore credits her time at UK with helping her on her journey to helping others achieve sobriety.
“My experience at UK, especially within the College of Social Work, prepared me to grow personally and professionally,” she said. “Dr. Dinah Anderson mentored me, and her guidance continues to motivate me today.”
In 1987, Moore arrived at UK as a vocational rehabilitation student. “My grades from high school did not support my ambitions to go to college, and I almost didn’t make the cut,” she said. “But I received a lot of guidance and support.”
Now, Moore’s career has come full circle. She is currently in the process of moving her company into the same building that once housed the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation on Main Street in Corbin, Kentucky.
“I am honored and grateful to UK Social Work for preparing me for a field that I was able to shape and help develop a product that is helping with substance use and criminal justice reform.”
Moore wants the public to understand — despite the success of her program, the need is still great. In fact, her company has a waiting list.
But true to her mission, Moore is working on more solutions. Most recently, she launched Community Treatment Re-Entry Services. The nonprofit accepts private donations, which are used to help integrate those with substance use disorders back into the community in a healthy, positive way.
Those who would like to donate can do so through mail to: 107 S. Kentucky Street, Corbin, KY, 40701.