MONTCLAIR, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Going away to college comes with a lot of temptations — such as do you study for a test or go to a party? For someone struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, it makes life on campus even tougher.
Montclair State University is joining a national trend with its Red Hawk Recovery program, CBS2’s Meg Baker reported.READ MORE: Mayor De Blasio Accuses Gov. Cuomo And MTA Of 'Fear Mongering,' Insists Subways Are Safe
“It’s designed to provide students who are in recovery from alcohol and other drugs a supportive living environment,” said Dr. Marie Cascarano, health promotion coordinator at the university.
One floor of a dorm will be designated the “wellness floor,” not only for those in recovery but also for students who chose sobriety. The dorms are not marked, so others do not have to know it’s a special area.
“I had a family friend that went through it, and if they would have had a program like this, they could’ve finished college and had a better future,” said Lucila Montes, a student at Montclair State.
To be eligible for the program, students must be 90 days sober when they arrive on campus. Residents in recovery are given access to psychological and addiction services, rides to addiction support groups and substance-free activities.
Gail Cole found out her son, Brendan, was addicted to opioids when he was a senior at the University of Richmond. He died of an overdose in 2014.READ MORE: COVID Restrictions: New York City Restaurants Can Increase Capacity, New Jersey Raises Gathering Limits
“By having it available from the beginning, it kind of sends a message to people that you can go to college, you can have fun without going to parties and getting drunk,” Cole said. “It is OK — some people just say no.”
Some people CBS2 spoke to said a campus like Montclair State could be the best place for someone in recovery. It could give them hope for the future.
Ed Loney, who graduated from Montclair State 10 years ago, said it could be a slippery slope if addicts start using again.
“Even though those people are getting the help that they need in that particular dorm, that doesn’t mean that they’re not going to leave campus or go on campus and try to find it,” he said.
Rutgers University was the first in the nation to open sober housing in 1988. A new state law will require similar options at New Jersey’s colleges and universities, where 25 percent of the population will be living on campus by 2019.MORE NEWS: NYC Parks Employee Slashed Across Face And Chest On The Job In The Bronx
So far, 12 students have signed up to live on the wellness floor at Montclair State. The main goal is finding a clean environment where young minds can thrive.