Expert Can Speak to Collegiate Substance Abuse and Recovery

Findings from a new report detail alcohol, prescription and illegal drug abuse among America’s full-time college students.

Written by Cory Chandler

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University will release Thursday (March 15) findings from a new report detailing alcohol, prescription and illegal drug abuse among America’s full-time college students.

Kitty Harris, Ph.D., director of Texas Tech University’s Center for the Study of Addiction and Recovery, can speak about efforts underway to provide supportive communities for college students in drug and alcohol recovery.

Higher education increasingly relies on peer-based recovery programs like the one pioneered at Texas Tech to battle student substance abuse and attrition rates.

Harris has overseen or advised the development of recovery communities at schools such as the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of Texas and the University of Texas at San Antonio and created a curriculum model that is being distributed nationally.

Texas Tech's nationally recognized recovery community is the largest and one of the oldest of its kind in the nation. It currently offers recovery and educational assistance to nearly 100 students from some 20 states who have overcome drug addictions and eating disorders.

During the past 20 years, more than 500 students – around 70 percent – have graduated through the program with only seven percent of active participants suffering relapses. The national percentage is closer to 50 percent, center administrators say. The students’ collective GPA is a 3.34.

Harris also has expanded the program’s scope to include research initiatives to better understand the processes and factors involved in young adult recovery. Through this work, the center has the potential to impact national perspective and policy concerning methods of recovery support including: social networking, family involvement and relapse prevention.

Contact: Kitty Harris, director, Center for the Study of Addiction and Recovery, Texas Tech University, can be reached by cell phone at (806) 239-1009, (806) 742-2891, or kitty.harris@ttu.edu.