Image source: UVM
At UVM, one woman is working to build a community around students who identify as being in recovery from drug use.
Amy Boyd Austin, the director of the Catamount Recovery Program, has been working since the group was founded in 2010 to include students in recovery in the University community, she said.
CRP is the only on-campus collegiate recovery program recognized in the state of Vermont, according to the Association of Recovery in Higher Education.
A collegiate recovery program is a college or university-provided organization that works to integrate a college education and a recovery program so students don’t have to choose one, according to CRP’s website.
CRP is for students in recovery from substance use and those taking a break from substance use as well, she said.
“It’s a place that you can connect with other people who are doing other things and value something other than partying,” Boyd Austin said.
She is a former president of the Association of Recovery in Higher Education, the only group that represents collegiate recovery programs and communities, according to its website.
Boyd Austin said more than 50 percent of the participants in CRP are there for opioid addiction, as previously reported in a Jan. 15 Vermont Cynic article.
Jane, an undergraduate student at UVM who did not want her identity shared, said she came to UVM specifically because of CRP.
“I think it’s one of the oldest college recovery programs in the country, and that’s why I came here,” Jane said. “They’ve been around for a while so they must be doing something right.”
Jane started using opioids when she was 18 and heroin when she was 20, she said.
“I was at Northeastern University when [my addiction] really took over. I had to drop out,” Jane said. “I’ve been homeless and lived in a tent for a while, been to jail and rehab.”
At UVM, she has been living in a healthy and comfortable environment, she said.
“I think that if I didn’t have CRP and all the support that I’ve gotten from this program, I don’t know where I would be,” she said. “I wouldn’t have applied and I wouldn’t be in college.”
SGA President Ethan Foley, a junior, appreciates Boyd Austin’s work with CRP and the effort she makes to support the recovery community.
“I know Amy’s done a ton of great work around promoting the destigmatization of that identity,” Foley said. “It’s a great thing to say UVM has because we’ve got people trying to do everything they can to help students.”
Students can apply to CRP on its website or be referred to the program, according to the group’s website.