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Collegiate Recovery Programs: A Student Snapshot

Alcohol use, drug use, and addictive behaviors are not a new phenomenon. Young adults who attend colleges and universities are often quite familiar with drinking culture, and many students are able to recall one or more friends who used drugs or alcohol even before young adulthood. 

College recovery groupWhile substance use is not new, many colleges and universities are launching a new approach to substance use issues: Collegiate Recovery Programs.

The Association of Recovery in Higher Education defines Collegiate Recovery Programs (CRPs) and Collegiate Recovery Communities (CRCs) as programs designed for students who seek recovery from addiction and substance misuse. These programs are supported and sanctioned by the individual colleges and universities that house them.

These programs are designed to offer support and a safe place for students in recovery. They also work to prevent substance abuse on campus– all while offering opportunities to interact socially, enjoy the college years, and obtain a desired degree while remaining abstinent from addictive substances.1

Collegiate Recovery Programs offer a number of activities and ways for students to connect. Some events and activities may include wellness and health activities, conferences, study groups, retreats, sober social events, workshops, and meetings. Often, meetings are planned and led by students, offering valuable leadership opportunities and ways for students to meet like-minded peers. Most programs do adhere to some type of 12-step recovery format, but may vary in their approaches depending on the needs and personalities of the students.

A recent study found a few interesting statistics about substance use in college.

  • Many college students have encountered problems with multiple substances or behavior issues at one time in their lives.
  • Most students in recovery opt to live off-campus for various reasons, including a desire to stay away from temptations to use substances.
  • An average of nearly 75% of students have been diagnosed with a depressive disorder at one time.
  • Forty-eight percent of surveyed individuals had been diagnosed with one or more anxiety disorders.
  • Drug use and alcohol use were among the most widely reported relapse concerns. Issues like eating disorders were less reported among this survey group.2

College students who want a healthier lifestyle often face unique challenges in college. College and goals for permanent employment after graduation lead to high-stress levels. These transitions may increase a desire to use unhealthy coping mechanisms. Furthermore, many young students are now experiencing new freedoms with less supervision and structure. There may be pressure to find friends and to fit in immediately. Students often experience a great deal of peer pressure to engage in drinking or substance use activities.

Students who are part of active collegiate recovery programs have significantly less danger of substance use relapse than those who do not. Up to 95% of students who take an active part in leading or participating in a Collegiate Recovery Community go on to maintain their recovery while attending college or university.3

Recovery Unscripted interviews on recovery schools for students to have support groups
Recovery Unscripted is joined by Dr. Andrew Finch, one of the country’s foremost authorities on integrating education and recovery support in an academic setting. Currently a professor of counseling at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, he’s also leading the first large-scale research studies on the effectiveness of recovery schools and is co-founder of the Association of Recovery Schools. He sat down with Recovery Unscripted to discuss why these institutions are uniquely positioned to help alter students’ trajectories for the future and how his experience serving with them has broadened his view of what recovery can mean.

Infographic of collegiate recovery programs have a lot of benefits being on college campuses. here is a student snapshot of a study on the characteristics of students participating in college recovery programs. crp's are an innovative campus-based model consisting of recovery-friendly supportive social communities developing educational opportunities, while also supporting the recovery and emotional growth of the student.

If you would like to learn more about Skywood’s dedicated recovery professionals and program, please call us anytime. Our dedicated recovery professionals are on hand to help you find wellness for yourself or for the young person in your life.


Association of Recovery in Higher Education. Recovery Resources. Retrieved July 1, 2017.

Laudet, Alexandre B. et al. Results from the first nationwide survey of students in collegiate recovery programs. Drug & Alcohol Dependence ,Volume 146, e170. 2015. Retrieved July 1, 2017.

Laudet, Alexandre B. et al. Characteristics of Students Participating in Collegiate Recovery Programs: A National Survey. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, Volume 51, 38 – 46. Retrieved July 1, 2017.