IU Bloomington allocates $300,000 to substance abuse recovery

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — A new recovery community at Indiana University Bloomington is helping students who are struggling with substance abuse. IU committed $300,000 for the project.

The IU Collegiate Recovery Community received funding in late 2017. Doors finally opened in August.

The group is trying to help students navigate challenges in college and graduate.

Travis Lawson, coordinator of IU Collegiate Recovery Community, said research from Texas Tech University shows that on a campus the size of IU Bloomington, there are about 500 students in active recovery.

He also said studies show college students who are in active recovery and do not have support from a recovery community have a graduation rate around 30%. When the services are available to these students, the graduation rate increases to about 80%.

The IU Collegiate Recovery Community offers counseling, case management, and guidance. Lawson said they can help students understand resources available to them.

He believes the group has helped around 20 students so far. He said most students struggle with alcohol, marijuana, or cocaine abuse.

The IU Collegiate Recovery Community received funding after a student organization, Students in Recovery at Bloomington, requested the services. They established a support group but advocated for more resources for students.

Jake Desmond, a grad student at IU Bloomington, helped start Students in Recovery at Bloomington.

"Even as an undergraduate, my priorities were based in social life rather than school," Desmond said. "I got to a point where I was sick and tired of all of my relationships failing, getting into trouble."

Desmond was a freshman at IU Bloomington when he said the drinking really became a problem. He left campus and got help at a rehab center. When he came back, Desmond said he pushed for a recovery community on campus.

"If things go too far, you need to have some sort of safety net for students," said Desmond.

He's happy to see the university is showing support and helping students who struggle with substance abuse.

Lawson hopes the group will expand in the future and eventually offer sober housing on campus.

Students who need help can visit the IU Collegiate Recovery Community's home at 508 N. Fess Ave.

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