Quantifying Sobriety on Campus

Book discusses strategies for establishing and supporting collegiate recovery programs.

Written by Cory Chandler

The statistics are, well, sobering.

More than 80 percent of college students are drinking. A third of them do drugs, and nearly a quarter of them meet diagnostic criteria for substance abuse or dependence.

Universities from Vanderbilt to the University of Texas at Austin have begun implementing recovery communities on campus to stem a tide that not only wrecks academic careers, but torpedoes retention rates and tuition revenue.

“Substance Abuse Recovery in College,” published by Springer, is the first book to detail collegiate recovery communities and the services they provide.

The book draws largely on data gathered through Texas Tech University’s Center for the Study of Addiction and Recovery (CSAR).

CSAR provides peer-based support and academic services for more than 100 students in recovery from drug and alcohol addictions. Students enrolled in the program maintain an average 3.34 GPA, 80 percent graduation rate and only seven percent have suffered relapses.

“Substance Abuse Recovery in College” relates the experiences of these students using information gathered through surveys, focus groups and a study in which students entered thoughts into Palm Pilots at the end of their day.

The book covers other topics, such as strategies for building abstinence support into an academic curriculum and challenges to establishing recovery communities on campus.

Texas Tech has helped replicate its curriculum at schools like the University of Mississippi and Vanderbilt University.

Center officials are helping establish programs at schools such as the University of Connecticut, University of Michigan and the University of Alabama.

Book editors include Kitty Harris, director of the Center for the Study of Addiction and Recovery, H. Harrington Cleveland, with the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Pennsylvania State University, and Richard Wiebe, with the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Fitchburg State College.

For more information and to read a sample of the book, visit http://www.springer.com/psychology/child+%26+school+psychology/book/978-1-4419-1766-9

Contact: Kitty Harris, director, Center for the Study of Addiction and Recovery, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-2891, or kitty.harris@ttu.edu.