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sober dorms

Sober Dorms Provide Support for College Students in Recovery

The college years are a time when young people are exploring and finding out who they are, in addition to furthering their education. For many of them, this process includes spending time partying with friends and making decisions about drinking and using drugs.

The results of a 2016 report compiled by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) found that 1.2 million full-time college students consume alcohol. The same report also revealed that more than 700,000 students smoke marijuana on a typical day.

Binge Drinking Common on College Campuses

Binge drinking (defined as consuming five or more drinks in two hours for men and more drinks in two hours for women) is a common occurrence on college campuses, according to figures released by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Students who arrive on campus can expect that there will be a certain level of drinking and drug use going on. For young people with a history of substance abuse or addiction, this level of exposure may not be helpful for them.

Significant Percentage of College Students Have History of Substance Abuse

According to Lisa Laitman, the director of Alcohol & Other Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) at Rutgers University, up to 30 percent of college students have a history of substance use disorders. Research has also shown that substance abuse rates are higher for college students than for peers of the same age who are not enrolled in classes.

More Collegiate Recovery Programs Now Include Sober Dorms

Colleges are responding by offering “collegiate recovery programs” (CRPs) to provide help to students stay sober and stay enrolled in school. These programs include:

Mental health counseling
• Substance abuse counseling
• Peer-to-peer support
• Recovery support group meetings
• Sober social activities and programs

A number of programs include sober dorms where no drugs or alcohol are permitted. These are environments where students support each other’s sobriety.

Transforming Youth Recovery, a non-profit organization, says the number of CRPs has grown from 35 to over 150 over the past five years. Approximately 50 have sober living residences for students.

In the wake of the biggest overdose epidemic in American history, it would be great to see every college and university campus to start creating sober dorms in recognition and support for the students who need ongoing help.

Study Shows Smartphone App Can Help With Sobriety

jamapsychsoberappAs technology is becoming more personalized with various mobile applications for smartphones, researchers are also developing more ways for them to be beneficial. Now a recent study appearing in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) for psychiatry has examined an app that is used to help alcoholics remain sober following treatment.

This particular app was developed at Center for Health Enhancement Systems Studies at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and is called the Addiction-Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System (A-CHESS). The study compared 349 patients who met criteria for alcohol dependence. They all entered a residential treatment center, and then about half were given the app to assist with follow-up and recovery support.

The self-reported measurements were taken at 4, 8 and 12 months following discharge from the residential program. The A-CHESS app provided monitoring, information, communication and support services to patients who had it, including ways for them to stay in contact with treatment professionals as well as other members of support groups.

The results showed that those with the app showed considerably less percentage of risky drinking days than those who did not have it. The conclusion of the study was that having applications such as this one (which isn’t available commercially yet) can have a very positive impact on improving sobriety rates.

As reported by the Associated Press, one study participant said that it was “an absolutely amazing tool,” and that he was able to contact others who went through treatment with him for support. The connectivity function for both peers in recovery as well as counselors couple with the continual reminders of the goal of sobriety as well.

FAVOR Advocates for Peer Recovery Support Services

favorhealthcareissueThe Faces and Voices of Recovery (FAVOR) is a substance abuse and mental health patient advocacy group. One of the big projects it works on each year is coordinating National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month media and events each September, but it also does many more things year-round.

The organization recently released a briefing advocating for the importance of peer recovery support services that also indicated their importance in the pending Affordable Care Act commencement at the beginning of next year.

The stated primary objective of peer work is to help others initiate and achieve long-term recovery from addiction and to enhance quality of life, health, and wellness.

Among other things in the Health Care Issue were bullet points about the differentiation between professional treatment for substance abuse and the role of peer support, which is not to be confused with 12 step groups.

Peer support in recovery can come in many different forms and are now viewed as vital components in the continuum of care following addiction treatment.

Find out more about quality treatment services and follow-up support by contacting Desert Cove Recovery today.