The Growing Need for Collegiate Recovery Programs in Appalachia

Today, the Association of Recovery in Higher Education (ARHE) reports there are over 90 colleges and universities nationwide with established collegiate recovery programs. A cross reference of the Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC) map of Appalachian counties with ARHE’s list of Collegiate Recovery Programs/Communities (CRPs/CRCs) shows there are seven universities/colleges located in Appalachia with established recovery programs.

According to a 2008 ARC commissioned study, there are disproportionately high rates of substance abuse and mental health disorders in Appalachia. The rate of prescription pain killer abuse in Appalachia is rising faster than the rest of the nation. Alcohol continues to be the most abused drug on college campuses, as well as in the nation and throughout Appalachia. Appalachia lags in college completion rates at 17.6% compared to the nation at 24.4% (ARC, 2008).

A nationwide site survey of 29 CRPs/CRCs (A. Laudet, et al., 2013) showed annual relapse rates ranging from 0 to 25%, and academic achievement (GPA and graduation) surpassing the host institution’s overall outcomes.

The lack of collegiate recovery programs located in Appalachia, coupled with high rates of substance abuse and lower college completion rates, show a growing need for more collegiate recovery programs in the Appalachia region. A roundtable discussion is proposed to discuss recovery supported programs, highlight positive outcomes, examine program variations and provide information for starting a CRP/CRC. The panel is comprised of university representatives from three different CRPs/CRCs in Appalachia.