Indiana University has committed $300,000 over the next three years to support substance abuse recovery for students.

The money comes from an IU initiative to address addiction, called the Responding to the Addictions Crisis Grand Challenge. That initiative is adding to a growing body of research on the best practices for addressing addiction.

There are still a slew of misconceptions about who is in recovery and what that looks like, said Travis Lawson, coordinator of the IU Collegiate Recovery Community. Decades ago, it was common for addiction to be perceived as the result of an individual’s moral failing.

“That’s not the case,” Lawson said. “Substance use probably happens for a lot of different reasons, but it’s not reflective of a person’s character or moral compass.”

Lawson is from Lawrence County, Indiana, where he spent time working at women’s shelter called Becky’s Place. He helped provide therapy to hundreds of women, and that’s how he became interested in substance use recovery.

Many of the women he worked with who had substance use disorders were facing myriad problems. He described them as the kinds of challenges common in rural Indiana, such as a lack of health care providers, transportation and other resources. Those challenges compound to amplify substance use and threaten the sobriety of those in recovery.
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