Setting “UPP” Collegiate Recovery

The University Partnership Program, developed by Retreat Premier Addiction Treatment Centers, offers another option for students suffering from substance abuse to complete their college degrees.

When addiction follows — or finds — a young person at college, family, friends and campus administrators often don’t know what to do. They worry. Fear and questions riddle their thoughts. Family: “Will she be all right? Who will let us know if he has a problem?” Friends: “Man, I know. He’s just raging all the time. Should we say something to someone?” Professors: “What is going on? She was making A’s, and now she’s rarely coming to class.”

Thankfully, the recently developed University Partnership Program (UPP) at Retreat Premier Addiction Treatment Centers offers answers to those questions. Officially launched last year in response to university officials and parents seeking resources for students suffering from addiction,

the program confronts drug and alcohol abuse on several fronts. First, it offers free tools and provides consultation to college officials. Second, it works collaboratively with university personnel to educate and raise awareness about substance abuse, its signs and symptoms. Third, it helps students achieve recovery even while enrolled in school.

For Retreat, a traditional recovery model with inpatient and outpatient facilities in Pennsylvania and Florida, UPP was a natural evolution of its services. Chief Business Officer Deja Gilbert explains that parents and university officials came to Retreat asking for tips, signs and tools “to educate themselves and students on the effects of drug and alcohol use, as well as mental health.” They recognized that college can be a time of relapse or formative addiction because many students are

living on their own for the first time, away from their parents’ watchful eyes. Without proper resources, they understood that young people’s freedom can morph into a cage of addiction.

They acknowledged that the cost of that addiction skyrockets and everyone shoulders a share, particularly families. Thus, they proactively sought solutions.

“They turned to Retreat for its expertise in treating this population of students,” Gilbert says. “Retreat is very responsive to a patient and family’s clinical and recovery needs, and with our in-house clinical experts, we are able to successfully meet the needs of recovering students. [We] help them seek treatment and then gain re-entry back to school once their inpatient treatment is completed.

“Students in early recovery need the discipline and focus of integrating their recoveries into all aspects of their lives,” Gilbert continues. “College is a big focal point, and UPP gives students the tools they need to integrate and navigate both pieces — recovery and academics.”

Retreat is uniquely qualified to help students because not only does it provide a full continuum of care — from medical detox to residential care to outpatient support — but it also gives students access to a full-time, master’s-educated staff. It operates in multiple areas, currently Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and Palm Beach County, Florida, and plans to expand to western Pennsylvania and southern Connecticut within the next year. Moreover, it focuses on substance abuse treatment and substance abuse prevention and education. Through UPP, available at all locations and nationwide as Retreat cultivates relationships with higher learning institutions across the country, it does both, leading with prevention and education.

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