Fewer women are getting the treatment they need in Tennessee when it comes to addiction.

Experts say women have access to a quarter of the number of treatment beds that men do.

The reason, according to the Tennessee Association of Alcohol, Drug, and other Addiction Services, is that women are often times forced to choose between their families and getting treatment. Because most women choose family, facilities can't provide the resources they need.

"I receive a call or so a month that sounds like this: 'I need your help getting my daughter or granddaughter, son, grandson, arrested because they're addicted and need help and the only we can get help is to get them arrested,’” said Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall. “You need to provide services in the community that do not require you to go to court to get them.”

Inmates wait, he said, an average of 40 to 50 days to get a bed at treatment center. But, according to the executive director of TAADAS, the people who do get beds are most likely men.

“Women are more often the caregivers for their families,” said Mary-Linden Salter, “So they either have to leave home and leave their children behind, or leave adults [and] relatives behind. For them to receive treatment, they have to figure out how to take care of their families while they're gone.”

There are 46 licensed detox centers in Tennessee. Of those, 37 take women, but only 12 take pregnant women.

“Family is one of the chief motivations for women to actually get into treatment because they want to maintain their family,” Salter explained.

But, she said, there are currently no standards for family residential care in Tennessee and many women are faced with the possibility of losing custody if they go to treatment.

“They're going to keep their children, and they're going to figure out how to make it work,” Salter said.

Here's a list of detox centers that accept women in Middle Tennessee:

  • Brentwood Springs LLC – Brentwood
  • Mirror Lake Recovery Center – Burns
  • Plateau Mental Health Center – Cookeville
  • Buffalo Valley – Howenwald, Lewisburg, Nashville
  • JourneyPure at the River - Murfreesboro
  • Cumberland Heights – Nashville
  • Lloyd C. Elam Mental Health Center – Nashville
  • Mending Hearts – Nashville
  • The Next Door Inc. – Nashville
  • The Ranch – Nunnelly

Copyright 2019 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


Rebecca Cardenas is a Murrow-award winning journalist who joined News4 as a reporter in September 2017. She currently covers the court systems in Middle Tennessee.

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