Trenton, NJ – Capping a two-term commitment to fighting addiction, Governor Christie today announced that nearly $5 million has been awarded to expand campus recovery housing, prevention, and treatment services at New Jersey colleges.
The five contracts were issued by the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), now within the Department of Health, as part of the Governor’s efforts to treat addiction as a disease through integrated primary and behavioral health care. The “Supporting Students in Recovery” program will provide or expand supportive, substance-free living environments for college students in recovery as well as services aimed at preventing addiction.
“These recovery dorms provide a community of support for students and useful tools to help them in the life-long battle to maintain sobriety,” said Governor Chris Christie. “It’s important that we bring these services directly to the campuses, right where the students and their stressors and temptations are.”
Young adults of college age – 18-29- represent 40 percent of all treatment admissions reported to the New Jersey Substance Abuse Monitoring System in 2016, and heroin use among young adults has more than doubled in the past decade, leading to a rising overdose rate, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control Prevention
The $4,762,000 was issued in multiple awards, with the average award being approximately $950,000, to The College of New Jersey in Ewing, Montclair State University, Ramapo College of New Jersey, Rutgers University in Newark, and Rutgers University in New Brunswick.
The Rutgers New Brunswick campus already has a comprehensive college recovery housing program, which was the first in the country and serves as a national model for campus recovery housing.
All public four-year institutions of higher education that provide residential housing were eligible to apply for the funding. Institutions that already had designated housing for students in recovery were eligible for the contracts to fund recovery programs, treatment and related services. Colleges or universities that do not yet provide recovery housing are required to use part of the funds to develop it – either through new construction or modification of existing space – and use the remainder for recovery and treatment services.
The substance abuse recovery housing program was established by August 2015 legislation signed by Governor Christie to require four-year public colleges and universities to have programs up and running within four years.
Although referred to as “recovery dorms,” designated housing may include a floor, wing or other area within a dormitory building or other student housing and does not require that an entire dormitory be substance-free. Project oversight will be provided by DMHAS.
In addition to providing a substance-free living environment, each contract awardee also must provide individual and group substance abuse recovery-oriented programs and services and implement prevention strategies, assessment, academic, and personal counseling services to students.