Virginia Commonwealth University has received $675,000 in federal funding to expand substance use recovery programs to other Virginia colleges.
VCU’s support program, called Rams in Recovery, will be used as a model for similar programs at eight other schools - including Virginia Union, Washington and Lee, UVA, and Virginia Tech.
“College campuses are generally abstinence hostile environments,” says Rams in Recovery’s Tom Bannard. “The kind of core reason for collegiate recovery is that students shouldn’t have to choose between their recovery and their education.”
Bannard says one of the main things a support group on campus does is help students find one another.
“If you’re a person in recovery unless I tell you ‘I’m in recovery’ you don’t know I’m in recovery… it’s a hidden identity,” he explains.
Michael Zohab manages the state’s grant money for dealing with the opioid crisis. He says he’s excited to take a successful program and expand it to other schools.
“The kids that are in these recovery programs are also the prevention programs in these colleges,” Zohab says. “They’re the ones that are helping other kids and young adults seek a healthy lifestyle.”
The participating schools will get support and training from experts, as well as opportunities to collaborate and learn from one another.