Approximately 40 students are part of Florida State University’s LIFT recovery program in the 2022-23 academic year.

Florida State University’s Collegiate Recovery Program (CRP) creates a community for students seeking help with substance abuse and substance abuse and enables them to build accountability with their peers.

Living Intentionally, Finding Togetherness (LIFT) serves as both a recovery program and an addictions resource program for the general campus community, and it has seen rapid growth in student engagement since its relaunch it a year and a half ago.

What is the need: The 2021 National Drug Use and Health Survey reported that approximately 8.6 million young people aged 18 to 25 met the criteria for substance use disorder in 2021.

Fifty percent of young adults drank alcohol in the month prior to their survey and 29.2% drank heavily in the previous month. About 38% of young adults surveyed have used illicit drugs, 35% have used marijuana and 3.3% have vaped nicotine, all in the past month.

A variety of factors play into a person’s substance use, but students often use substances to relieve stress or to reduce social anxiety.

Substance use can negatively impact a student’s academic performance and physical and social health, as well as the tendency to engage in risky and dangerous behaviors, which impacts overall success in school. ‘Higher Education.

College recovery programs face negative stigma in providing student care — if a college has one, which 95% of institutions don’t.

“The national percentage of students identifying as being in recovery hovers around 4% of your student body, which is typically many more students than institutions realize,” says Angela Lauer Chong, Associate Vice President in Student Affairs and Dean of Florida Students. State.

What is LIFT: LIFT kicked off in the fall of 2019 with a 2018 steering committee led by Chong. Few students engaged with the college recovery program in the same way during distance learning, and so the program has “essentially restarted” with renewed support from university administrators and alumni.

At the height of that first year, the program had seven student affiliates. This spring, however, “the LIFT program is booming,” Chong says, with about 40 active participants and 1,100 unique student interactions.

“A CRP that not only serves recovering students but provides multiple avenues for students to explore and seek a path to recovery is the future of success for students,” Chong said.

LIFT moved to a larger, more central space on campus in winter 2022, closer to administrative and community offices, programming and training spaces in the Thagard building, and the dedicated substance abuse counselor and to the institution’s substance abuse counseling center also serves as a liaison for the CRP.

LIFT organizes weekly book clubs, general meetings, social activities and recovery coaching for students. The program also promotes conference attendance and presentation.

Student involvement: LIFT offers two types of peer training programs, the Recovery Ally program and peer accountability partners.

The Recovery Ally Program (RAP) is a 90-minute training with an interactive workshop that asks students to reflect on and monitor their substance use or addictive behaviors, Chong says. “It encourages students to change the way they think about addiction, change the way they talk about substance abuse, and adapt their approach to recovery.”

Students who complete the RAP learn tools to intervene in their own habits and connect with resources.

Peer Accountability Partners are students who have spent at least one semester as a LIFT member and have completed RAP training. As a third requirement, students must complete the NASPA Peer Educator Certificate program or something equivalent, such as completing 12-step work, majoring in social work or psychology, or participating in community service.

Peer mentors take on between one and three mentees, working approximately two hours per week with each student. They are responsible for providing substance-free social activities, accompanying their peers to recovery-oriented meetings, sharing campus resources and more.

Look forward: Going forward, Chong hopes a wider population on campus is aware of the program and its offerings, whether it’s support, becoming a recovery ally or having a conversation with a peer who is dealing with a substance use disorder.

Florida state officials are recruiting a full-time program coordinator and seeking additional grants to further develop the program. Alumni have also contributed to LIFT, with two donations totaling $125,000 and a mini-documentary produced by alumnus Michael Ortoll about college recovery communities and the importance of student support in recovery from alcohol and drugs.

“Ten LIFT participants are graduating in May, and I would like this to be the start of an alumni community so they can continue in the community beyond their years at FSU and provide mentorship to our current students in recovery,” says Chong.

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