Kennesaw State CYAAR leader focuses on education

Teresa Johnston dc 9.jpg

U.S. Dept. of Education speech and D.C. rally highlight trip KENNESAW, Ga. (Oct. 8, 2015) —…

Georgia (Oct 8, 2015)U.S. Dept. of Education speech and D.C. rally highlight trip

KENNESAW, Ga. (Oct. 8, 2015) — Kennesaw State’s Center for Young Adult Addiction and Recovery (CYAAR) Director Teresa Wren Johnston, MA, LPC., was among the nation’s top experts in the field to speak at the “Combatting Addiction and Supporting Recovery in Educational Settings” conference.

The U.S. Department of Education recently convened the meeting to share successful approaches that help young people overcome drug abuse and addiction.

“Collegiate recovery programs and the recovering communities they support play an important role in ensuring that students in recovery find support, structure and guided pathways to success,” said Johnston, the founding president of the Association of Recovery in Higher Education and state coordinator of the GA NETWORK.

Held in the capital’s Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Building, the conference was designed to discuss current drug abuse and addiction trends among youth, school efforts to support youth in recovery, and evidence of the effectiveness of such programs.

According to Johnston, CYAAR is often cited as a prime example of what works in an educational setting.

“How we approach and change the progression and development of addiction in the young adult population must first and foremost start on the social rung,” she said. “There is no more social a circle than the education environment.”    

Johnston delivered her remarks before a group that included Tom Coderre, the chief of staff of SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. SAMHSA is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services working to reduce substance abuse and mental illness in the country.

“Education – while designed to promote student achievement, to prepare students for global competitiveness while fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access – is not immune to the impact of mental health and addictive diseases,” Johnston said. “Education systems themselves are at risk because the very students they serve are at risk and impacted by the social use of alcohol, drugs and developing mental health concerns.”

While in Washington, Johnston joined with a group of more than two dozen CYAAR students and faculty for the Unite to Face Addiction Rally on Oct. 4.

In recognition of CYAAR’s efforts to support students in recovery, organize and ignite the community around attending the rally, CYAAR was chosen as a recipient of one of the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse’s scholarships in the amount of $2,500.


Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering nearly 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive university with more than 33,000 students from over 130 countries. In January 2015, Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic State University consolidated to create one of the 50 largest public universities in the country.

— Robert S. Godlewski






A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit