Saturday, February 23rd, 2019

USM awarded grant for recovery center on campus

Bradford Spurr

Posted on May 02, 2016 in News
By USM Free Press

By Colin Cundy, Free Press Staff

A federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHA), has been awarded to open a recovery center here on campus. Having a center for those in need will stand in contrast to the existing group’s, Students and Recovery (SAR),  previous set-up.

SAR has been directly involved in coordinating with the university throughout the application process. The group, formed in 2014, met with the administration this past August and USM’s Collegiate Recovery Program Steering Committee was formed as a result. The committee worked to successfully apply for a grant funding to increase Collegiate Recovery services offered at USM. The funding is contracted with Bringing Recovery Support to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy (BRSS TACS) and through SAMHSA. USM was one of seven universities to receive this funding.

In the past, SAR has met in reserved classrooms for one hour a week. This hasn’t been ideal according Andrew Kiezulas, a participant and group leader within SAR: “It causes confusion,” he said in regards to the brevity of their meeting times and to having to use a space that wasn’t their own.

Having a center on campus will be a considerable step toward treating the issue of substance use as one that deserves more attention and more resolution.

“The fallout from this not being here is more friends of ours die,” Kiezulas said. “We’re trying to increase positive outcomes.”

Diane Geyer, coordinator of substance abuse clinical services at USM, said the center will expand the current services offered through SAR.

“The new Collegiate Recovery Center will offer a physical space, a home for SAR group and all students in recovery,” she said.

While SAR will continue to meet, the Recovery Center will likely be open during regular campus business hours. The center’s presence and availability will exponentially increase the reach of its vital services.

“With the Recovery Center, we would like to have a space where people can go,” Kiezulas said.

Having a dedicated space located on campus will give students and those in need of help a supportive environment and a place to go to.

Working closely with the university, a location has been selected to centralize recovery services at USM. It will be located on the first floor of Payson Smith.

This location also features the benefit of being located down the hall from the university’s Health and Counseling Services office.

“This was very deliberate,” Kiezulas said, speaking positively of the relationship between SAR and the university’s Health and Counseling Services office.

“We’re hoping to be liaisons to them,” he said. “A lot of our community members would do very well seeking professional clinical help.”

However, SAR and the Health and Counseling office’s hands are tied to a degree. SAR only meets once a week, and similarly clinicians can only work with someone for an hour a week.

“It can really stunt the growth of people when they’re trying to transition into recovery… without there being a continuum of care,” Kiezulas said.

That’s where the Recovery Center will come into play.

The exact date of the center’s opening hasn’t been announced yet, but efforts by the university and SAR will be made toward opening the center in August, or to at least ensure it is open in time for the fall semester.  

“We anticipate the center being open to students by the middle of August,” Geyer said.

When the launch date is in sight, the university, according to Geyer, “will be having an open house for the public and the college community.”

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