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sober dorm

Teenagers who go off to college with a history of alcohol and drug use often find it difficult to maintain in a college setting—where drinking and drugging is pervasive. Keeping up with a full class load whilst intoxicated on a regular basis is no easy feat. It is quite common for students with substance abuse issues to drop out, then return to school only to drop out again. It is a cycle that is the result of addiction.

More times than not, college age young adults struggling with addiction need to find recovery before they are able to seriously have a shot at obtaining a degree. However, going back to school after finding recovery is still a challenge. Just because one manages to find sobriety, doesn’t mean that they will not be exposed to drugs and alcohol upon returning to school. Being in close proximity to other students who use mind altering substances can be a trigger for those who work a program of recovery. So what is one to do? Not go back to school for fear of triggers?

As you might expect, choosing to not move forward with one’s dreams of achieving a higher education due to the potential of a relapse is not the optimal choice. In fact, in recent years a number of colleges across the country have begun to offer dorm buildings specific to people in recovery or for people committed to abstinence. Universities that offer sober living services to their students, provide an environment where like-minded people working towards the same goal of graduating and maintaining their recovery can flourish.

In light of the American opioid epidemic, more and more schools are seeing the need to offer sober dorms. In fact, using the model that Rutgers University developed in 1988, colleges outside of New Jersey have begun to implement similar services to their students, PBS NewsHour reports. The Association of Recovery in Higher Education found that 95 percent of students involved in college recovery programs manage to hold on to their recovery.

Sober dorms are a “major new development in the recovery movement. They’re unique because they get to the heart of the beast,” said Dr. Robert DuPont, who heads the drug policy think tank the Institute for Behavior and Health, and served as White House Drug Chief from 1973 to 1977. 

Below are some schools who have gotten on board:

  • University of Vermont started a recovery housing program in 2010.
  • Texas Tech began offering substance-free housing in 2011.
  • Oregon State University will begin a similar program in the fall semester of 2016.