Peer Mentoring and Monitoring Program off to a Strong Start

The Haven at College — an organization that assists students in recovery from substance use disorders — announces a successful first semester of its Peer Mentoring & Monitoring program, which was launched last fall at Drexel University in Philadelphia, University of California Santa Barbara, University of San Francisco, University of Redlands in California and the University of Southern California.

The innovative program pairs students who are considering recovery with those who are in treatment programs ready to reintegrate back into a college setting in a supportive environment with peers who are in established recovery.

“We noticed that at the schools we serve there was a huge population of students who were starting to experience consequences from their alcohol or drug use but weren’t at a point where they were ready to be abstinent or to receive an inpatient or intensive outpatient level of care,” says Aly Ries, Director of Admissions and East Coast Development. “This program is also a good fit for students who are looking to step down from a treatment program and are ready for the next step of being more independent but still want continued accountability.”

The program has five aspects: peer mentoring; drug testing; group support; individual counseling by addiction counselors; and family communications. The peer mentors, who are students or alumni of the program who stand out as leaders and are trained by the Haven, meet with students informally once a week for an hour at a place where the student feels comfortable and performs drug testing to monitor a student’s goals.

The program also bolsters the peers’ recovery. “As they give out advice and relay their experience, they are reminding themselves of what they need to do to stay on track,” says Ries. “It’s one more support to keep them healthy and doing the right thing for themselves.”

—Patti Zielinski

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