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.