September is National Recovery Month, and in an effort to help students on campus who have struggled or are currently struggling with addiction problems, the Pepperdine Counseling Center has taken note of the national campaign and is looking to provide assistance to those who are struggling with addiction.
This is the second year Pepperdine has taken part in National Recovery Month, a national campaign sponsored by government organizations focused around health issues. The Counseling Center’s main objective is to promote awareness about addiction to help students understand what constitutes addiction and how to help a friend who may be suffering from it.
To do this, the Counseling Center has put on a variety of Convos that center around addiction and addiction treatment. They also have resources on the Pepperdine Community website, as well as information posted in residence halls and at various locations around campus. Those aren’t the only resources available to students.
In 2011, a Pepperdine graduate student successfully started holding AA meetings on campus after recognizing a need in the Pepperdine community. The AA meetings are not affiliated with the Counseling Center, although the Center does support the group and does their part to advertise it to students who could benefit from the service. For those interested, the meetings are held on Thursdays at 4 p.m. in TCC 250. The meetings last for one hour, continue throughout the entire semester and are held exclusively for Pepperdine students. Information about other treatment options in Malibu are available at the meetings.
Surveys conducted by the Counseling Center every couple of years indicate that although binge drinking rates among Pepperdine students are lower than that of other universities, there is still a recognizable problem among a fraction of the Pepperdine student body.
Robert Scholz, the assistant director/coordinator of AOD programs at the Counseling Center, reported that in a given month, 20 to 25 percent of women and 30 to 35 percent of men at Pepperdine take part in a binge drinking experience. For these statistics, binge drinking is defined as consuming more than the legal limit (.08 in California), once in a two-week period. Scholz was pleased to report that these numbers are five to 10 percent lower than the national average.
Still, there remains great diversity among the Pepperdine community when it comes to alcohol consumption.
“We have a mixed problem with [drinking] here,” Scholz said. “We are fortunate that we have a greater percentage of students here that don’t use alcohol at all or use it in minimal quantities. Our drug use rates are significantly lower than the national averages, but we also have a fairly decent group that does abuse alcohol. Of course, sometimes because those that are abusing alcohol or drugs are oftentimes hanging out with each other, we have a majority that doesn’t recognize a problem exists, or they don’t want to think it exists. It’s also a misunderstanding about what constitutes a problem…. It’s oftentimes not until people begin to experience consequences that they can begin to identify [alcohol] as a problem.”
The Counseling Center aims to make addiction and addiction treatment a conversation throughout the year, most notably with Alcohol Awareness Week in the spring that, similarly to National Recovery Month, aims to provide students with information about what constitutes addiction and how to help someone with a problem.
“If you talk to someone who has a friend or family member who has an addiction they can tell you everything about that problem,” Scholz said. “What they don’t know how to do is help the person, and so part of what we try to do is give information about how to effectively help someone.”
The Counseling Center is available year-round for those looking for help with a substance abuse problem.
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