Mar 11, 2011
By Aaron Krumheuer
Matthew Russell from Texas Tech University recently visited Ohio University to answer questions and raise awareness about a new Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC) for students recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.
Russell is an associate director at the Texas Tech Center for the Study of Addiction and Recovery in Lubbock, Texas. He and the fledgling CRC have been collaborating to bring the Texas Tech recovery model to OHIO. He met with the Division of Student Affairs and recovering students to discuss its implementation.
According to its mission statement, “The Ohio University Collegiate Recovery Community will apply a multi-disciplinary approach to students in recovery from drug and alcohol addictions by providing on-going support throughout their academic career.”
“It won't be another 12 step program but a community, a place for recovering students to go if they're looking for something to do at 9 o'clock on a Friday night,” said Terry Koons, associate director for health promotion at the Campus Involvement Center and advisor to the Collegiate Recovery Community.
This kind of Collegiate Recovery Community was first implemented at Texas Tech University 25 years ago. It organizes peer support for recovering students to prevent relapse and meet their special academic and social needs. Part of the Texas Tech program works with other interested universities to replicate the successful model.
As part of providing academic support, the Collegiate Recovery Community plans to ease the transition of incoming OHIO students with existing drug and alcohol problems. Because some of these recovering students have faced legal trouble in the past, it is often a challenge to navigate the college entrance process, said student senator and CRC treasurer Mary Kate Gallagher.
“There's a spiral of violence when people have past felonies and can't get into college,” Gallagher said. “They get frustrated, commit more crimes and have children who might do the same. We're hoping to stop this.”
The Collegiate Recovery Community was born from the Coalition Advocating Responsible Drinking Decisions Committee (CARDD). In 2009, the Treatment and Recovery Subcommittee of that group began drafting a proposal for the CRC. It is to be presided by graduate student Kristina Rose.
The proposal cited a 2009 Alcohol and Other Drug survey that found 1.2 percent of undergraduate OHIO students were in recovery, or about 333 students on the Athens campus. Also, 42 percent of student respondents said they had at least one parent with a drug or alcohol problem.
The CRC proposal was presented in spring of 2010 to the administration and in July to President Roderick J. McDavis. Several of its recommendations derive from the Texas Tech model, such as hiring a director and full time staff person for the Campus Involvement Center and creating a website.
The CRC currently awaits approval for funding.