Young adults who attend college are more often than not, very familiar with the drinking culture on campuses. Many of these individuals have also likely experienced at least one friend who used substances at some point. Substance use and abuse is nothing new to society, however, the rise has caused much surprise. To overcome this epidemic in young adults, colleges and universities have taken an effort in launching Collegiate Recovery Programs across the nation.
The Association of Recovery in Higher Education defines Collegiate Recovery Programs (CRPs) and Collegiate Recovery Communities (CRCs) as programs designed for students who seek recovery from addiction and wellness from substance use. Each program is supported and authorized by the individual institutions that operate them. Each institution, however, has the same goal: to offer support and a safe place to students in recovery in order to help prevent substance use. In addition, to provide opportunities to interact socially, enjoy the college years, and obtain a desired degree while remaining abstinent from addictive substances.
CRC’s are also offering many activities and opportunities for students to connect. These events and activities may include wellness and health activities, conferences, retreats, study groups, sober social events, meetings, workshops and so on. These events can also be student-led, offering many leadership and social opportunities with like-minded individuals. A 12-step recovery format is also included in this program, though the types of approaches may vary in small ways depending on the personalities and interests of the students.
The Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment completed a recent study that offered greater insight into students who participate in these programs. The average age of the survey’s participants was 26, with individuals ranging from ages 17-58. Of these students, most were full-time students, with a high amount being mostly Caucasian males.
This study found:
- Most students in recovery chose to live off-campus for various reasons, including a desire to stay away from temptations to use substances.
- Many students had faced problems with several substances or behavior issues at one time.
- Drug use and alcohol use were among the most widely reported relapse concerns. Matters like eating disorders were less reported among this survey group.
- Nearly 75% of students had been diagnosed with a depressive disorder.
- 48% of students had been diagnosed with at least one anxiety disorder.
It is common that college students will face different challenges from school work, employment, new friends and less structure. Transitions like these may lead to other unhealthy behaviors and routines, like peer pressure to engage in drinking or substance use activities.
The Association of Recovery in Higher Education (ARHE) offers hope. Their organization has found that students who are part of active Collegiate Recovery Programs have significantly less danger of relapses than those who do not. The ARHE found that, nationwide, 95% of students who take an active part in leading or participating in a Collegiate Recovery Community go on to maintain their recovery while attending college or university.
Article written by Skywood Recovery