Recovery program emphasizes prevention for students


    After a $100,000 donation from TCU football head coach Gary Patterson and his wife in October, the TCU Recovery Support Group still has not decided how the money will be handled.

    Rachel Leshner, a program specialist at the Alcohol & Drug Education Center, said she hopes to expand the program after everything is finalized.

    “Once we get a little more information on what that money situation is going to look like, that’s when we’ll start talking about options about how to best use it to expand the program," Leshner said.

    The recovery group meets every Tuesday at the University Christian Church and is only for TCU students. Students have the opportunity to discuss their struggles with drug and alcohol addictions with their peers.

    The rise of liquor and drug violations at the university has been recognized by the center. The increase from 346 liquor violations in student housing in 2009 jumped to 490 violations in 2011. Drug violations in student housing have nearly doubled between 2009 and 2011, according to TCU Police Crime Reports.

    The increase in violations also comes along with the general increase in admissions, Leshner explained.

    After a survey issued in 2010 by the center, Sparkle Greenhaw, director of the Alcohol & Drug Education Center, said that 8.3 percent of TCU students reported they might have a drinking or other drug problems.

    "This semester, the TCU Alcohol & Drug Education Center began offering a Recovery Support Group for these students to supplement other campus and community efforts regarding substance abuse," Greenhaw said.

    According to Leshner, about 85 percent of the students that come to the center are mandated to do so because of an alcohol or drug violation they received on campus.

    “We definitely believe that the early intervention piece is one of the most important things that the office does,” Leshner said.

    Although students may not be thrilled about visiting the center, Leshner said the support group believes it is helpful because after one semester of being on campus, they have only seen about a 10 percent relapse rate.

    "We work on a basis of prevention, intervention and recovery, so the prevention piece is huge," said Leshner.

    Greenhaw said the staff at the center encourages students to contact the center for more information.

    "Students can often provide peer support for each other in ways that others cannot," she said.