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Recovery Dorms Help Students Fight Drugs and Alcohol



Some universities are offering separate housing and help to students recovering from alcoholism and drug abuse. Rutgers University in New Jersey became the first American institution to offer such housing in 1988. Thirty-eight students live in the Recovery House dormitory at Rutgers.

Gregory says his abuse included illegal drugs, alcohol and medicines only available under doctors' orders. "Klonopin, Xanax, alcohol, marijuana and all these were on a daily basis. It escalated to the point where I really couldn't focus on my schoolwork."

Gregory left another school and sought help at a treatment center. He then asked for admission to Rutgers. "These are friends also that I can talk to about some, some really personal issues that are going on with my life. And previously, you know, my friendships, especially while I was using, were friendships based off of 'let's get high together.'"

Lisa Laitman founded Rutgers' Alcohol and Other Drug Assistance Program. She says recovering students help the newest arrivals. "The new person's going to, sort of, breathe a sigh of relief and say 'I'm not alone.' You know, 'I'm not the only one who does these crazy things.'" The students must agree not to use drugs. They must attend two meetings a week to talk about their problems.

Cathy says she had lost her daughter to the drug heroin. She credits Recovery House for getting her back. "They do barbecues. They go and see hockey games. They have, you know, walking activities, cycling activities. So this thing is going on which they do together as a family, team, whatever you want to call it." Without support, recovering students could return to drugs and alcohol. Rutgers says many former members of the program have completed their studies, enjoyed successful careers and had meaningful lives. I'm Faith Lapidus

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