Kennesaw State in vanguard of addiction recovery programs on U.S. campuses

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Campus leader co-convenes 1st national higher education recovery association meeting July 11-13…

Georgia (Jul 8, 2011)Campus leader co-convenes 1st national higher education recovery association meeting July 11-13

KENNESAW, Ga. (July 8, 2011) — Kennesaw State University’s success in building a rapidly growing program to support students with addictions has catapulted the university into a leadership role in a movement to firmly establish addiction recovery communities on college campuses across the nation.

For the past four years, Teresa Johnston has led the development of Kennesaw State University’s Center for Young Adult Addiction and Recovery (CYAAR), which provides students with alcohol, drug, food, gambling and other addictions a unique social community model to support their recovery.

With the exponential growth of the collegiate recovery community at KSU — from three students when it launched in 2008 to 50 students this fall —  and the addition of alcohol and drug education and intervention services, the center is poised to become a national resource for research in young adult addiction and recovery. 

Johnston, a licensed counselor and CYARR director, has turned her attention to the goal of institutionalizing addiction and recovery services in higher education.  She is a co-facilitator, along with colleagues at Texas Tech University, of a July 11-13 meeting to form an executive board and map out the vision, mission and strategies for the national Association for Recovery in Higher Education (ARHE).  Representatives of seven institutions with active recovery communities will convene for the first association meeting in Lubbock, Texas.

The association will support the work of recovery communities operating on 20 campuses nationwide, with several institutions set to open centers during the 2011-2012 academic year.  With the growing interest nationwide in collegiate recovery, Johnston said there is a need for a national approach to support the rapid pace of growth.

In addition, on March 7-9, 2012, Kennesaw State will host more than 250 scholars, practitioners, administrators, staff and students, officials from the Office of National Drug Control Policy and other stakeholders at the third annual National Collegiate Recovery Conference. 

The leadership role that Kennesaw State University is taking is a big step toward increasing national awareness about the growing issue of young adult addictions, the need for campus-based recovery services and the growing response by higher education, Johnston noted.

“There is a great momentum, even from the federal government, to make certain that young people with addictions get the services and support they need in an academic setting,” Johnston said.

Evidence is mounting that a growing number of students in recovery would like to continue their education and remain in recovery.  A recent national survey of 148 students participating in recovery communities at five campuses revealed that 61 percent said recovery support was important to their enrollment decision.  Students participating in the survey also rated satisfaction with the university’s recovery support program higher than other campus services, including advising, support skills, sports and recreation, cultural events and campus social life.

Johnston noted that while there are several models of support for students in recovery, KSU provides a social model of support designed to helps students achieve a full, mainstream college experience in a safe environment.  The center does not provide recovery housing for students but concentrates instead on providing services to help facilitate integration into the collegiate community through academic advising, recovery meetings, weekly seminars for relapse prevention and community building and the opportunity for scholarships.

Kennesaw State University began its Collegiate Recovery Community with a $20,000 gift from William Duffey, a federal judge in Atlanta, and his wife, Betsy, an author of children’s books.After experiencing the pain and concern of their own college-age son’s addiction, the Duffeys said they understood how hostile the collegiate environment could be for a recovering student. They learned about Texas Tech’s model for a collegiate recovery program and took a personal interest in bringing recovery to higher education in Georgia. The couple endowed a scholarship fund at Kennesaw State for students in recovery and made a passionate appeal to KSU administrators to establish a recovery center.

“Thanks to the efforts and generosity of the Duffeys, Kennesaw State students in recovery are given the opportunity to build acommunity, sustain their recovery and progress in their academics one semester at a time, one day at time and one person at a time,” Johnston said. “It’s a race worth winning.”

For more information about addiction recovery services at Kennesaw State University, visit the Center for Young Adult Addiction and Recovery website at

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering more than 70 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing, and a new Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the 35-unit University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing population of more than 23,400 students from 142 countries.  


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit