AURORA, Colo. – A highly specialized adolescent treatment service center in the metro area has been honored as one of the best in the country. Synergy provides highly specialized treatment for substance abuse, conduct disorder and other co-occurring mental health disorders. It has been named one of six national winners of a Science and Service Award for Treatment of Substance Abuse and Recovery Services. This award is given by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Synergy is part of the Addiction Research and Treatment Service (ARTS) in the Division of Substance Dependence in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado School of Medicine. Elizabeth Whitmore, PhD, is Director of the Synergy Outpatient Services and is a clinical psychologist and associate professor in the Psychiatry Department. Whitmore said, “This national honor recognizes the intense dedication of our treatment staff, who struggle daily to provide humane, caring, scientifically-supported treatments to profoundly troubled adolescents and their families.”

The Science and Service Awards recognize programs that are uniquely successful in offering “evidence-based treatments”. These are treatments that have a strong scientific research base demonstrating their efficacy. Synergy’s award recognizes its use of Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST) for adolescents and their families, a treatment that Synergy often integrates with the Community Reinforcement Approach. MST addresses all dimensions of adolescents’ lives, aiming to decrease their antisocial behavior and substance abuse while improving functioning in their families and communities. This cost-effective, sustainable, family-oriented intervention is provided in adolescents’ homes or community locations, outside of hospitals or residential settings.

Therapists in the center are state-certified drug abuse counselors, usually with Master’s degrees in Social Work. A team of psychiatrists from the Department’s Division of Substance Dependence provide psychiatric services. Synergy also has CU-owned residential (live-in) services for adolescent males on the campus of the old Fort Logan Mental Health Center.ospital.

Faculty at the University of Colorado’s School of Medicine work to advance science and improve care. These faculty members include physicians, educators and scientists at University of Colorado Hospital, The Children’s Hospital, Denver Health, National Jewish Health, and the Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Degrees offered by the University of Colorado School of Medicine include doctor of medicine, doctor of physical therapy, and masters of physician assistant studies. The School is located on the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus, one of four campuses in the University of Colorado system. For additional news and information, please visit the CU Denver newsroom online.

Contact: Jackie Brinkman, 303-724-1525, [email protected]; 303-501-4250 (cell)

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