I’m employing the use of sarcasm as usual but seriously, drug-free dorms? Is this a thing? I must be way behind the ball on this one because I wasn’t actually aware that this exists. Since the early 1990s in colleges all over, American students have had the option to voluntarily reside in drug-free housing. A drug-free dorm means students commit not to smoke, drink, use drugs and in some cases they agree not to have pets or play their music loudly. Sounds fun, am I right? On a serious note, I think this is an excellent idea. The whole point of attending college is to get an education and a degree to impress someone enough to hire you for a good job. How can you expect someone to meet the demands of college if they’re drunk and high, or distracted by a large group of people blitzed on alcohol and drugs?
For many years in movies and in television shows, college culture has been depicted as a cesspool of sex, drugs, rock and roll and of course more sex, often unprotected. Nearly half of students who drink have reported that they regularly binge drink; binge drinking is defined as consuming more than five drinks in a two-hour period. Full-time college students are twice as likely to abuse drugs and alcohol as those who don’t attend college.
Why This is an Awesome Idea
Since 18-22-year-olds are already a high-risk population for drug and alcohol abuse and addiction, I believe having a safe place for them to live on campus is crucial to their success, health, and safety. Having a specific residence for students making a commitment not to use or drink promotes a culture of recovery and gives students a place to get better if and when they develop problems with addiction. Speaking of problems with addiction, when colleges have drug-free dorms, this gives addiction counselors a good place to start when attempting to administer treatment. If problem drug users are all congregating in similar housing, this gives counselors and addicts a great place to get together and work on their issues with addiction as a team. It also allows students already in recovery to create sober supports more easily.
It’s important to remember that these dorms aren’t all about addicts. There are other people who are served particularly well by housing that doesn’t allow drugs or alcohol. Some students want to avoid drugs and alcohol for religious reasons; many Muslims, for example, do not consume alcohol for religious reasons. Some students have close friends or family members with drug or alcohol problems that they don’t want to be exposed to substance abuse when they come to visit. Or they just don’t want to go down that path because they already know where it leads. It is also not uncommon for students to transfer from regular housing to drug-free housing seeking refuge from all of the chaos. As I said earlier, I think it’s unfair to expect students to meet their academic and/or athletic obligations while enduring all of the stupidity, violence, vandalism, property damage and noise that comes with drug use, partying and binge drinking.
There are practical reasons why this alternative housing option is great too; vandalism and property damage costs twice as much in traditional housing as it does in drug-free dorms. Not to say these dorms are perfect, but the numbers certainly don’t lie.
What are the Benefits of These Unique Dorms?
Drug-free dorms save colleges and students (not to mention their family members) lots of money, and since college is wildly expensive as it is I think this is worth mentioning. It costs colleges and students who live in drug-free dorms 50% less due to lack of property damage and healthcare issues. We also know that 3/5 as many students are reported to binge drink while living in drug-free housing. The fewer college students we have binge drinking the less students will go on to become alcoholics and addicts.
You may be wondering how many students actually voluntarily decide to live in drug-free housing; more than you would think. At the University of Mich, gan 29% of students choose to live in drug-free dorms. The truth is this phenomenon is caused by a multitude of reasons; some students come from strict religious backgrounds, some students filled out their housing paperwork with their parents and were strongly encouraged to check “drug-free” housing, or did so because they thought it would look good and some go into college realizing they have a legitimate issue with addiction that requires specialized housing. Regardless of the real reason they chose drug-free dorms, the point is that ultimately these students will be in a safer place. A place where they will be more safe, more productive and statistically less likely to become addicted to drugs and alcohol.
It seems as though the days of “Animal House” culture in American colleges are starting to die down. It’s not just drug-free dorms it’s also college recovery programs. Colleges all over America are starting to realize that students are a high-risk population enduring a ton of scholastic pressure. Add to that a terrible addiction epidemic in the United States and you end up with a recipe for disaster. This is why colleges are trying to get more clever and unique when it comes to offering solutions. Thankfully it seems to be working, with drug-free dorms housing students safely and college recovery programs offering their services to students with addiction. This allows them a unique opportunity to recovery from addiction without having to drop out of school entirely. No one should have to drop out of school and put their future on hold to get well.
Freedom From Addiction
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