VCU to develop, implement substance abuse recovery programs at eight universities

Posted at 10:36 AM, Oct 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-30 12:26:03-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A federal grant awarded to Virginia Commonwealth University will help expand substance abuse recovery programs at eight universities across the state.

"Its a project that’s designed to create space for people to be in conversation about recovery," said John Fryer Associate  Professor VCU School of the Arts

Gov. Ralph Northam announced Wednesday that the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) has awarded $675,000 of federal State Opioid Response (SOR) grant funding to VCU.

A collegiate recovery program (CRP) is an institutional, university-supported organization that provides a dedicated space and support for college students who are in recovery from substance use disorders. VCU’s CRP,  Rams in Recovery, will serve as a model for and provide guidance and oversight to eight partner schools as they develop and broaden their on-campus recovery communities.

"When we do this, when we do this work, when we show up for each other, it changes that story from what might have been a tragedy into something that has these exponential impacts on our community,"Recovery Program Coordinator Tom Bannard

The participating schools include Longwood University, Radford University, University of Mary Washington, University of Richmond, University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Virginia Union University, and Washington and Lee University.

“We only had a couple students coming in when we started Rams in Recovery, but we saw impacts almost immediately as the university and individual donors invested more in the program,” said Rams in Recovery Program Coordinator Tom Bannard. “Students thrive once you start supporting them in recovery. Their success attracts other struggling students into the program and they motivate other people in recovery to come back to school. It’s a wonderful cycle to watch.”

Federal SOR grants from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provide assistance to states across the country that are battling the ongoing opioid crisis.

Virginia has now received SAMHSA grants to combat the opioid epidemic for three consecutive years, totaling nearly $40 million.