Archive for 16 August 2011

Recovery 101

The Wall Street Journal published a disturbing story on special campus recovery programs being developed at major colleges.  See the whole thing here: Campus Life 101: Staying Sober

I have my problems with this trend – that it essentially teaches young people to be dependent on an artificial recovery environment.  For my take on it, see: Majoring In Dependence, With A Minor In Powerlessness

Beyond that though, there are countless issues brought up by this article.  Is government money involved when they give students $3,000 scholarships for being involved with 12-step programs?

Among amenities including a sober-student hangout with study pods, pool tables and 12-step meetings, Mr. Weir receives a $3,000-a-year scholarship from the university for earning near-perfect grades while staying sober.

One of the colleges says such scholarships are anonymously funded.  But other resources may be involved tangentially, which would amount to taxpayers incentivizing 12-step involvement.  Either way, it sends a strange message.  One commenter on the WSJ site said this of the scholarships:

I’ve always been sober and I get good grades. Why can’t I get a $3,000 scholarship?

And then there’s this disturbing point raised in the article:

Among Americans seeking treatment for substance abuse, no demographic is growing faster than students age 18 to 24. During the decade ended in 2009, treatment providers say the number of students in that age range seeking help more than doubled, compared with a 9% jump in the 25-and-older category, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The rate of heavy alcohol use—defined as five or more drinks on five or more occasions within the past 30 days—is highest among Americans aged 20 to 22, according to SAMHSA. And within that demographic, consumption is heaviest among college students.

I hate to say it, but that’s just kids being kids, and they usually grow out of it.  The actual number of college students who drink heavily hasn’t actually doubled – it’s the number seeking treatment which has doubled.  It scares me because it means that people like me, trying to warn of the dangers of rehab programs, are failing.

The whole thing really gets me going, and I figured it’d get some of you riled up too.