Some teens are already trying to recover from addiction by the time they arrive at college.
Still others will decide during the school year they need help to fight substance abuse.
UNC Charlotte is developing resources for both groups.
“I’ve had parents call and ask what do we have and how can my child benefit,” said Deborah Insley, a clinical addiction specialist and director of the university’s Wellness Promotion Department.
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Misuse of alcohol is a major health issue for some students at U.S. colleges and universities, Insley said, quoting national research. Those problems can affect how many students stay in school after their freshman year.
Several colleges and universities have responded with programs aimed at education, prevention and treatment, Insley said.
Insley believes less attention has been given to the needs of students in recovery than should be. UNCC began addressing needs of recovering students last fall, recognizing that recovery can become more challenging for students where even a small group embraces heavy drinking and drug use.
UNCC formed a Collegiate Recovery Community program last year to support students in recovery, help them continue their studies and move toward careers.
This year, the effort is getting a bigger push with the opening of a Collegiate Recovery Meeting Room within the Student Health Center.
It’s a space where students can gather for support groups or 12-step recovery programs or just to hang out.
International home furnishings retailer IKEA in University City donated furniture and other items for the Recovery Room. Signs are going up around campus and through other means.
Insley estimates that 500 to 600 students each year face violations of the university’s alcohol and drug policies. Not all those students are in need of recovery programs.
Still, she has hopes that the meeting room will draw in hundreds of students who understand they need support.
“Build it and they will come,” she said. “This is something I truly believe in.”