College Uses Sober Dorm to Combat Opioid Epidemic

Rutgers University, the state university of New Jersey, has a special dorm that offers “substance-free” housing and activities for students in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction, called the Recovery House.

The nation’s opioid epidemic is focusing new attention on a strategy Rutgers pioneered back in 1988. Oregon State University will offer substance-free housing to students this coming school year. Last year, Republican Gov. Chris Christie signed a law that requires all state colleges and universities in New Jersey to offer sober housing if at least a quarter of the students live on campus. The law gives schools four years to comply, but the College of New Jersey was already preparing to open a sober dorm, which it did last fall. Texas Tech opened its substance-free housing in 2011.

More than 35 percent of American college students say they’ve had more than five drinks in one sitting in the past two weeks, compared to 29 percent of non-college peers; 43 percent of college students say they’ve been drunk in the past month, compared to 34 percent of non-college peers. Daily marijuana use among full-time college students has more than tripled in the past 20 years, and cocaine use is on the rise.

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