An increasing number of colleges are establishing “recovery communities” with sober living opportunities. The focus is on students in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction who have committed to staying clean in college.
The risk for relapse or drop-out is especially high among students in recovery. The peer pressure on campus and the middle-aged focus of off-campus 12 step meetings contribute to this.
Two primary college models exist. There are programs with supervised residential facilities; while other programs help students find unsupervised off-campus accommodations with sober students. No research exists to support the success of one housing model over the other at this time.
Recovery communities can include 12 step meetings, meetings with counselors, special classes on addiction and recovery, meditation rooms, study and social halls and planned sober activities. The Center for the Study of Addiction and Recovery (CSAR) at Texas Tech, widely recognized as a pioneer in recovery communities, also offers a range of scholarships to students in their program who perform well in school.
According to SAMSHA, more young people than ever are in recovery. Students seeking treatment increased by 141.3% between 1999 and 2009. The fastest growing demographic of people seeking treatment for substance abuse overall is 18 to 24 year olds.
Does it work? According to associate director Matt Russell, students in the CSAR program at Texas Tech have higher GPAs and graduation rates than any other student organization on campus .