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Providing On and Off-Campus Treatment and Recovery Services: Elements to Consider

Though more intensive services for students with serious alcohol problems are needed, campuses may find it difficult – due to lack of funding, staff, or other resources – to implement programs that go beyond early intervention. However, many experts agree that the costs campuses incur as a result of injuries, vandalism, and other alcohol-related incidents could be drastically reduced by providing more intensive programs for students with severe drinking problems. As colleges and universities decide what programs they are going to implement on campus and what services they are going to refer students to in the community, there are some important considerations to be made:

  • Off-campus services are not typically tailored to college students, most often focusing on either adult or adolescent populations.

  • Referring students off campus for treatment removes them from the campus environment, making it difficult for them to find or create a supportive peer group and diminishing the time they have to focus on academic endeavors.

  • When campuses refer students out into the community, it can be difficult to determine whether or not students follow up on those referrals and receive the services they need. (Thus, if campuses do choose to utilize community resources, strong communication with those providers is key.)

  • More intensive, individual-focused AOD treatment and recovery services require campus practitioners to possess more specialized skills and training.

  • If campuses decide to implement a broader spectrum of on-campus treatment and recovery services it is important to consider the key processes involved in applying research to real-world practice.

  • Connecting students with the treatment services they need can be challenging.

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