Faculty Member Receives Grant to Study Campus-Based Recovery Projects

Kitty Harris was awarded a two-year grant to help analyze the impact of these recovery programs.



When it comes to collegiate recovery programs, a Texas Tech University professor is working to determine what works, what doesn’t and why.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recently awarded Kitty Harris, director of the Texas Tech University Center for the Study of Addiction and Recovery (CSAR), a two-year developmental grant (R21) to study the college-based recovery programs that help recovering students avoid relapse.

The study will involve at least 29 programs and approximately 700 students, Harris said. And it will continue the CSAR’s efforts of sustaining a database with which to explore students participating in collegiate recovery communities nationwide, and to analyze the students’ outlook on such programs.

“We’d like to know things like which services they utilized, which was most important to them, and how it changed their college experience,” Harris said.

Harris is principal investigator for this study alongside Alexandre Laudet, of National Development and Research Institutes. They are joined by co-investigator Ken Winders of the University of Minnesota, and Paul Moberg of the University of Wisconsin as consultant.

The results will be used to design a rigorous evaluation study to be submitted to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for potential funding toward a best-practices model.

CSAR provides peer-based support, 12-step support and academic support for more than 80 students in recovery from drug and alcohol addictions, as well as eating disorders.

Now with collegiate recovery programs in place at more than 30 institutions nationwide and 75 programs in different stages of development, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) cites Texas Tech as the model for others to follow.

“The ONDCP is very excited,” Harris said. “I think part of that is because this is the first time that the NIH and NIDA have acknowledged the importance of recovery, not just addiction.”

It is the difference between a short-term fix and a long-term solution, she said.

“It’s fairly simple to get people clean and sober,” Harris said. “The real challenge is in giving an emerging adult population the tools necessary for life-long recovery.”



The Center for the Study of Addiction & Recovery is committed to achieving six primary goals

  • Quality, long-term recovery for the student population.
  • Development of resiliency in recovering students.
  • Education about the disease of addiction and effective strategies for the prevention and treatment of its consequences.
  • Service within the university, local, state and national communities.
  • Creation of a replication model that will allow other institutions to offer similar programs to their students.
  • Research that impacts the way addiction is viewed from an individual, familial and social perspective..


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