There is no denying that college is an atmosphere where lots of addictive habits can form. Gaining newfound independence, turning 21 years old, getting invited to all night frat parties…these are the ingredients that often welcome substances like marijuana and alcohol. And while experimentation has been around since the dawn of time; having a proclivity to use may overpower many students, thanks to genetic predispositions. To combat this, more and more universities are bringing recovery programs onto their campuses.
NBC News happened to profile the story this month, singling out schools like Augsburg U over in Minneapolis. There, a program called Step Up has been put in place; offering options like substance-free housing for students who are recovering. There are also coaches on hand and mental health services to help anyone who is struggling.
As National Mental Health and Substance Abuse Administration director Christopher M. Jones told the site, these types of offerings set undergrads up for success in more ways than one.
“Bringing recovery supports onto the college campus can be a key part of an individual’s academic success and the success of their overall recovery,” he explained. “No one should have to choose between recovery and a college education.”
Another interesting component of programs like these is the incorporation of fellow students as counselors. Recovering alumni work to encourage sobriety through a peer-to-peer support network.
As the article correctly pointed out, partying isn’t the only gateway into using during this time of life. For many students, there is a tremendous amount of pressure to get good grades or keep up with their peers. Stimulants can also lead to addiction, as undergrads pull all night study sessions to keep up with their exams.
And with the nation’s opioid crisis in full swing, alarming numbers are emerging profiling young users. According to the NBC article, 5.3 million young people between the ages of 18 to 25 (the prime college demographic) have some sort of dependency.
Our hope is that more colleges across the country adopt the approach that Augsburg is taking. Their aggressive stance has helped the campus earn a 93 percent graduation rate and less that 10 relapses each year.
Recent Augsburg grad Neil King was also interviewed for the piece and praised the work of Step Up. He, himself, successfully went through the program and was quickly able to turn his life around.
“I got a second chance at life,” King told NBC. “I wouldn’t be here without all the great Step Up people who have helped me up over the last four years. I’m just really grateful for it.”