Much has been done lately to try to curb drug and alcohol addiction and substance abuse in general in the United States. Some states have taken it on as a personal mission to effect lasting and permanent changes in their state in the never-ending battle against substance abuse. For example, on Aug. 10, 2015, New Jersey governor Chris Christie signed a bill that was part of a 21-bill package to combat the increase in heroin and prescription drug use within the state of New Jersey. This is a strong bill, and the new bill signed by the governor makes it essentially mandatory for all public state schools that have at least 25 percent of their student body living on campus to provide a substance abuse recovery housing program by the year 2019. Ideally, this program will act to curb drug and alcohol addiction and abuse in New Jersey colleges.

This “Sober Housing” option as it is called is written to mandate colleges to provide a supportive, substance free dormitory environment that provides support programs to recovering students who have had a recent run in with drug and or alcohol addiction or abuse. This program will include on-site counseling, mentoring and peer support and could be located in a separate wing or floor of a pre-existing residence area right on the campus.

Helping Students Live Clean Lives

This program couldn’t have come at a better time, as the college demographic is currently one of the worst demographics in the entire nation for drug and alcohol abuse, and New Jersey has seen some of the absolute worst of this simple fact. Listed below are some nationwide facts and statistics about college drinking that most certainly apply to New Jersey and to most other U.S. states too:

• Binge drinking is a major in the American college scene and has been for some time now. In truth, only one in five of all college students is a frequent, (or weekly), binge drinker, but two-thirds of the alcohol consumed by college students is consumed by this group inevitably. As a result of this also, over a resounding sixty percent of all injuries, vandalism, and problems with the police reported on college campuses are caused by frequent, (weekly), binge drinkers.

• While a lot of college students do drink, only a few of them actually binge drink, and almost sixty percent of students surveyed don’t actually think alcohol is important at a party.

• This is still an area of major concern though because a quarter of those who start drinking at age 17 or younger develop alcohol dependence at some point in their lives, and more than ten percent of those who start drinking at age 21 or older develop alcohol dependence and addiction.

• Alcohol plays a big role in the school system too in the United States. Students with GPAs of D or F drink three times as much as those who earn A’s. Also, youth who drink are 7.5 times more likely to use other illicit drugs and 50 times more likely to use cocaine than young people who never drink, as alcohol lowers inhibitions and convinces people to do things that they would normally never do if they had been drinking.

This is exactly what the state of New Jersey needs, because this is a state that has suffered greatly in the areas of college campuses. In addition to providing support for students in need, this bill aims to positively affect graduation rates too as a result of these programs by effectively keeping students enrolled who could have withdrawn without support because of their substance abuse issue. All in all, this is a stellar plan that could increase the efficacy of the college environment by a large percentage, and now other nearby states and colleges are considering the prospect of implementing similar policies, plans, and programs. Ideally, all U.S. colleges will have a program at least similar to this so that drug addiction, alcohol addiction, and substance abuse in general on college campuses will become a thing of the past.

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