Public Health and the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University provide data that reinforce the perception that college campuses are hotbeds of underage and excessive drinking.

The Ann Arbor area offers very few locations for those seeking treatment for substance abuse. Except for the Dawn Farm and Home of New Vision, (the latter being only open to female patients) these sites are mostly outpatient clinics that do not offer vital resources such as detox or transitional housing. Inpatient clinics, however cost an exorbitant amount of money, with a day of treatment reaching $600; hospitals, such as Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, recently shut down their chemical dependency day programs.

The University also offers a few programs for students seeking treatment for alcohol and drug abuse. Services provided by the Counseling and Psychological Services, located in the Michigan Union, are free of charge for all students and also offers some services for students’ spouses. Not only does CAPS offer individual counseling and group therapy, but it also offers outreach programs for organizations requesting seminars about chemical dependency. CAPS also uses an innovative approach known as the Assessment of Substance Abuse Patterns, which is a two-part assessment program geared toward alcohol abuse. However, these programs do not offer long-term treatment, such as the three-month period recommended by specialists nor the necessary inpatient care.

The social costs for failing to treat alcohol and drug dependencies far outweigh the medical costs for treating the initial problems. The University should take more proactive action to stem dependency by providing students with a comprehensive system to prevent substance abuse. Students should have at their disposal the resources for inpatient care and longer treatment periods, which should be covered in the University’s insurance policies. The University should also extend its methods to include new innovations and better publication of its services. With adequate preventive methods, substance abuse outreach and education, students will be better equipped to seek treatment for debilitating addictions.

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