Temple students request recovery housing to support peers battling addiction

     Sullivan Hall on the Temple University campus. (Emma Lee/WHYY, file)

    Sullivan Hall on the Temple University campus. (Emma Lee/WHYY, file)

    A Temple University student is leading an effort to urge the school to provide a housing option specifically for students recovering from addiction. 

    Joseph Basile, a junior representative in the student parliament, introduced a resolution calling for what’s known as recovery housing. He said that the university could do more to support students who need a refuge from drug and alcohol consumption on campus. The counseling services available to students battling addictions, he said, don’t cover them on every front.

    “Once they go home, and once they hit the weekend, they aren’t able to be with those counselors and they’re basically on their own with their recovery,” Basile said.

    Basile, a political science major from Long Island, New York, said his father’s recovery from addiction to painkillers helped inspire him to take action. He said his proposal would help students snared in the nation’s opioid crisis.

    “One of the greatest difficulties in life is to recover from substance abuse,” he said.

    Many colleges nationwide now offer programs for students recovering from addiction. Recovery housing goes a step further by providing a supportive community where they can live. Basile said that he envisions a place where residents have access to group therapy and counseling services.

    Temple’s student body president, Aron Cowen, said that recovery housing would help more students flourish during their time at school.

    “Addiction is a real problem,” said Cowen. “It’s a problem that a lot of students faced in high school and before, and it’s a problem that doesn’t go away when they come to college.”

    According to Crystal Collier, director of the Behavioral Health Institute at the Council on Recovery, over 50 colleges across the country now offer recovery programs with a housing component. New Jersey passed a law in 2015 that requires state universities to implement sober housing if more than a quarter of the student body lives on campus.

    A spokesman for Temple said it is open to discussions about bringing sober dorms to campus, and that they would have to be part of a larger addiction recovery program.

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