HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A leader in collegiate recovery services in West Virginia said it is difficult to estimate how many college and university students addiction affects in the Mountain State.
“That’s one of our missions is to get the word out, find students who are in recovery and support them,” said Susie Mullens, coordinator for the first West Virginia Collegiate Recovery Conference which will be held virtually on Tuesday.
The event was being organized through the West Virginia Collegiate Recovery Network, a consortium of recovery programs on campuses statewide, and the Alliance for the Economic Development of Southern West Virginia.
The Alliance is based at Marshall University.
As of Monday morning, more than 220 people had registered to participate in the free conference and registrations were still be accepted HERE.
The focus was on developing and expanding resources, services and peer support for college students in recovery from substance use disorder and those dealing with the effects of addiction among family members and others while raising awareness about those options.
“A lot of people who could participate and take advantage of the services we have are not aware that the programs are out there,” Mullens said.
Additionally, “Part of our goal is to reach students who might be participating in risky use of substances who are headed toward having a full-blown substance use disorder because we know that trajectory can be interrupted.”
The schedule for Tuesday’s West Virginia Collegiate Recovery Conference was as follows:
10:30 a.m. -12:00 p.m. Keynote Address: Making the Case for Collegiate Recovery;
12:15 p.m. -12:45 p.m. Saving Lives & Creating Lifesavers: Medication Safety and Naloxone on Campus;
1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Building Blocks: Considerations for Establishing and Growing Collegiate Recovery;
2:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. Voices of Collegiate Recovery: Perspectives from Students, Alumni, Staff & Allies
4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Digital Support for Recovery;
4:30 p.m. – 4:40 p.m. Award Presentation, Giveaway Drawing & Closing Remarks.
Originally scheduled as an in-person conference, it was delayed and modified because of COVID-19.
“We’re just really excited for the opportunity to bring national speakers in to highlight the important work that’s being done in West Virginia and that has been done in West Virginia over the last five years,” Mullens said.
Collegiate recovery started at West Virginia University in 2015.
In addition to WVU, there are now collegiate recovery programs and communities in West Virginia at Marshall, Bluefield State College, BridgeValley Community and Technical College, Concord University, Southern West Virginia Community & Technical College, the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine and West Virginia State University.
The West Virginia Collegiate Recovery Network was created last year to connect colleges and universities working to support students in recovery.
Involved were those from the Bureau for Behavioral Health State Opioid Response Program and the Office of Drug Control Policy with the state Department of Health and Human Resources along with the Higher Education Policy Commission.