With substance abuse continuing to plague West Virginia, WVU provides a number of resources to support student recovery and well-being.
In 2017, providers in the state of West Virginia wrote 81.3 opioid prescriptions for every 100 patients, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Today, narcotics is what really worries me,” said Catherine Yura, director of the WVU Collegiate Recovery Program. “We are in a state that is No. 1 with opioid use, and we have been for quite a while. For individuals where it’s not in their life, it may be in a family member’s life or somebody they know.”
Yura has worked at the University as a psychologist since the 1980s, during which she helped with the creation of the WVU Collegiate Recovery Program. The recovery program is for both people in recovery and people who just support recovery and want to live healthy, active lifestyles.
“I think today we have one of the leading programs in the country,” Yura said. “I am going to say that because we have blended both the wellness perspectives in our program as well as support systems for people in recovery.”
The recovery program offers a range of fun, healthy activities for students to participate in, which include yoga, meditation, book studies and “Creative Mondays,” Yura said.
The program is now going to be open on Thanksgiving Day, where they hope students will come to come together to make food and have a good time.
“Lives are hijacked whenever substance use disorder takes hold,” Yura said. “We know that there is a lot of grandparents who are raising their grandchildren; someday they will come to college. This is going to happen for a while, so this program will not go anywhere.”
The WVU Collegiate Recovery Program is located at the Serenity Place on 628 Price St. and is open to all WVU students.
Wes Thomas, a Health Educator at WELL WVU, is also finding new ways to help educate students on alcohol and other drugs on campus.
“We have a new program that we have been doing this semester called ‘Alcohol and Other Drugs Q and A’,” Thomas said. “It allows for students to submit questions about any alcohol and other drugs completely anonymously. I can then cater the content towards the curiosity, concerns or specific topics that students want to learn more about.”
Thomas tries to do as many face-to-face education programs with student organizations as he can. Topics can range from alcohol, cannabis, prescription drugs, to opioids, in order to educate students on the various risk factors of misusing substances.
“If a student is concerned with their relationship with a certain substance– there is an online resource they can use,” Thomas said. “It’s called ScreenU, and it’s a quick fiveminute, completely anonymous screening. It gives you unbiased feedback on the risk factors and will let you know about helpful resources on campus.”
Thomas said there are screenings for prescription drugs, alcohol and marijuana. Students can complete the screening by going to https://recovery.wvu.edu/screenu.
“We want to make sure that for students, being in recovery isn’t a barrier to coming to WVU,” Thomas said. “We just like to acknowledge the full spectrum of students and their various relations with substances and try to accommodate them each accordingly.”