When dealing with addiction disorders on college campuses, we all benefit

Posted in Guest Columns Date: September 1st, 2014, 2:45 pm By Guest Columnist TERESA…

Georgia (Sep 2, 2014)

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By Guest Columnist TERESA WREN JOHNSTON, director of the Center for Young Adult Addiction and Recovery at Kennesaw State University and founding president of the Association of Recovery in Higher Education

In a world where mental health and substance use disorders get top billing only when a tragedy occurs to a celebrity, a famous athlete or a music superstar, it is easy to overlook the millions of people suffering unnoticed.

When the headlines read heroin overdose, death by suicide or famous entertainer enters treatment, we stand up and take notice; in fact, we can’t get enough.

As people race to respond to the tragedies by blogging, tweeting and posting on Facebook, we are assaulted by the stigma and ignorance of a society that remains woefully uneducated about mental health in general and addiction specifically.

Stigma, judgment and misinformation continue to prevail in a society that should know better. Comments where individuals claim the very criteria for a diagnosed condition as the cure for the condition itself does more harm than good. Comments like, “It was his choice to take his life” or “If she would just stop using the substance she would be fine,” continue to propagate the notion that character and willpower are the answer.

Teresa Johnston


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 kennesaw.edu