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For many students leaving home for the first time, college is a place to live and learn independently. For some students, this transition involves high-risk drinking and drug use. College students between the ages of 18-25 have higher rates of substance use and abuse than any other demographic nationwide. Attitudes towards addiction and alcoholism among college students are unsupportive at best, and stigmatizing at worst. For example, a 22-year-old student was quoted as saying to one of his sober friends “You can’t say someone is an alcoholic until they leave college. Everyone drinks in college….” This quote shows the lack of understanding about addiction in general on campus. Furthermore, the college party environment is potentially dangerous for college students who have been in recovery from alcohol or drug addiction. The challenge for these students is how to maintain their sobriety and success in school, and still feel as if they are a member of the college community.
Oregon State University has taken steps toward meeting the needs of students in recovery from drug or alcohol addictions. OSU will be launching a collegiate recovery community in the fall of 2013. Opportunities for students to engage in fun, supportive, and sober activities has been made possible by support from the OSU Beverage Partnership funded by Pepsi. In the fall of 2014, the program will expand to include a collegiate recovery community housing option in partnership with University Housing and Dining Services.
The Collegiate Recovery Community meets the needs of students in recovery by providing a private space, funding, and support for events, meetings, studying, or just hanging out with other sober friends. The community also provides funding for sober activities on and off campus. “The sober students have a tight bond, we look out for each other, we are available for our friends in recovery 24/7, no matter what,” said a student in recovery. By providing the space, funding, and resources, sober students not only support each other, but now also have the same opportunities for fun and success on a university campus as other students, in a sober environment.
A Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC) provides a nurturing, affirming environment in which students recovering from addiction can find peer support as well as other recovery support services while attaining a college education. Students participating in this community have educational, academic, advisory, community building, and programmatic opportunities that support their decision to maintain their recovery as well as improve their academics and general life skills. Through this holistic approach to continuing care for recovering students, the CRC helps to provide a normative college experience for students in recovery.
Learn more about the Collegiate Recovery Community and find Facebook and Twitter links on the Student Health Services website.