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Sober college housing helps students abstain from drinking

One of the most frightening aspects of sending children off to college for many parents is that they will be exposed to alcohol and illegal drugs. Even kids who did not drink or take drugs in high school may find the easy access to these substances, coupled with peer pressure, too much to resist.

This can be particularly problematic for young people who have already battled substance abuse and are in recovery. They may even hesitate to go away to college for fear of a relapse.

That's why colleges and universities are increasingly introducing sober dorms. Many also have collegiate recovery programs (CRPs) that help students maintain their sobriety. CRPs may include support meetings as well as individual peer support and counseling.

They also have a multitude of alcohol-free social activities so that kids can have the college social experience without feeling pressure to drink or use drugs. The number of CRPs has more than quadrupled in the past five years.

The University of Maryland is one school that has introduced a "substance free housing option." UMD describes it as a "supportive space for those who choose to live in an environment free from alcohol and illegal drugs." Students cannot use these substances in the dorm or be there while under the influence of them. Neither can guests.

Certainly, college students who decide to drink can find places where they can do so -- even if they are legally underage. However, having an "oasis," as the director of one CRP calls it, in an environment that too often discourages abstaining from alcohol and drugs, can help kids focus on the goals they came to college to achieve, stay in recovery if they've had a substance abuse issue and avoid having the legal problems resulting from underage drinking and DUI derail their future.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Colleges using sober dorms to combat alcohol, drug addiction," Claire Altschuler, Oct. 13, 2017

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