Collegiate Recovery Programs and Communities are popping up all across America. That means more and more college students are getting the help they need.
Collegiate recovery isn't available at every school in the country. Not yet anyway. But it is available at enough schools to show the need is there. And not a moment too soon either. SAMHSA says of the estimated 12.4 million college students in the United States, more than one-third of them engaged in binge drinking in the past month. Another 20% used an illicit drug. And that was back in 2014. Those numbers are much more than likely to be higher today.
That makes substance use one of the most serious public health issues facing young Americans. It may even make it the most serious public health issue. So it's encouraging to see more and more schools place increasing importance on collegiate recovery.
But just what is collegiate recovery?
A collegiate recovery program (CRP) is a college or university-provided, supportive environment within the campus culture that reinforces the decision to engage in a lifestyle of recovery from substance use. So says the Association of Recovery in Higher Education (ARHE) anyway. And the ARHE should know. Especially considering they're "the only association exclusively representing collegiate recovery programs (CRPs) and communities (CRCs), the faculty and staff who support them, and the students who represent them."
People in addiction recovery face many challenges as they re-construct their lives and create a life-long recovery focus, says the AHRE. This isn't always supported by society. And it's even less supported in the realm of higher education. Collegiate recovery programs and communities aim to change that. The big, bright idea is to help students meet whatever challenges arise. It's also to support said students while those myriad challenges are being met.
Collegiate Recovery: Programs vs Communities
What's the difference between Collegiate Recovery Programs (CRPs) and Collegiate Recovery Communities (CRCs)?
The terms are often used interchangeably. Both describe an institutionally sanctioned and supported program for degree-seeking students in addiction recovery. Both offer the chance for students in recovery to experience higher education in a college environment. And both provide support, help prevent a return to use, and promote academic performance.
The most essential elements to a successful CRP/CRC are:
Remember though, this is a relatively new field. And new Collegiate Recovery Programs and Communities are forming all the time. So the scope of individual CRPs and CRCs may vary.
There may also be differences in the level and involvement of the university and the roles played by the staff. Some schools may refer to one as the program and the other as the actual community of students within the program. Consequently, students should be sure a school clarifies what is meant if and when a specific term is used.
Collegiate Recovery is a Great, Good Thing
Call it what you want -- a Program or a Community. Just so long as it means collegiate recovery. And just so long as it means college students get the help and the support necessary to succeed in sobriety. Is there adequate addiction education? How 'bout a helpline? Will a CRP or a CRC assist someone in seeking addiction treatment? Will they be there through recovery? There are many facets to effective collegiate recovery. It's crucial that schools are prepared to address each and every one of them.
Recovery Boot Camp would like to applaud the nationwide spread of collegiate recovery efforts. And we wholeheartedly hope those efforts continue to spread exponentially. We also hope that students who are battling substance abuse are able to get the help they need. If that requires, addiction treatment. So be it. Because addiction is too devastating to ignore. And lives are too precious to waste.