BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Living in recovery is a challenge for anyone, but for students in college, it can be especially difficult.
"LSU does have a history of being a party school," said Allison Smith with Louisiana Center Addressing Substance Use in Collegiate Communities or LaCASU.
Like college campuses all across the nation, research shows an increase in drug and alcohol use among LSU students. The rise in hard drug use, like cocaine and heroin, is an alarming trend that addiction specialists hope to stop with a new Collegiate Recovery Community or CRC.
"It's this area that people in recovery can come together and shine," said Felicia Kleinpeter with St. Christopher's Addiction Wellness Center.
Data shows that addiction or mental health issues are behind more than 40 percent of students who have to drop out or are asked to leave a university. Organizers are hoping a CRC will change that.
CRCs have been established on several other college campuses in the SEC with much success. LSU has a number of resources for students starting or continuing recovery, but many don't know where to go. A new CRC would not only make it easier to connect students with the help they need, but also give them a community of support to thrive on a college campus.
"We want to provide them with a safe an affirming space to continue their education when they come out treatment. We don't think it's not right that a student must choose between recovery and their education," Smith added.
To help establish an official CRC at LSU, there will be a 5K and 1 mile Recovery Run fundraiser at the LSU parade grounds on Sunday, December 13. The event includes a wellness fair that will show off all LSU has to offer for students in recovery. The message: there is life beyond addiction.
"We turn a kid who might be struggling or newly sober and frightened into the purposeful, joyful kid who then influences other people," Kleinpeter explained.