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The Prospector

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Recover at UTEP

Andres Martinez
Dr. Terri Williams explains his role in the UTEP Collegiate Recovery Program.

UTEP is set to institute a new student organization dedicated to both help and celebrate students in recovery from alcohol or drug abuse.

The University of Texas at El Paso Collegiate Recovery Program was established as one of the first recovery programs in the University of Texas System. Its mission is to improve knowledge and understanding about recovery with the goal of reducing the stigma associated with people who are in recovery.

“This is fantastic and something that will help a lot of people, not only from UTEP, but from the community as well,” said Isaac Hernandez, senior metallurgy major. “Sometimes, the focus can be only on binge drinking or partying too hard, but the reality is that alcohol abuse can impact people in many different ways, including those that don’t necessarily consume it.”

The program comes as a part of a push by the UT System Board of Regents to start and fund alcohol prevention, education, as well as recovery programs in every UT academic campus.

“This is momentous, this is the beginning of a new organization that will change the face of how campus environment relates to students who are struggling with issues that are affecting their academic life,” said Dr. Terry Williams, coordinator of the program at the University Counseling Center. “Every University of Texas campus is trying to do this and we are ahead.”

UTEP CRP aims to be more than just a recovery program. It also strives to be a support group, where recovery students can bond with each other and connect with other resources for academic and mental wellness.

The program has been working in conjunction with the University Counseling Center that has been involved in the process since the beginning.

“The counseling center was the one who originally got the funds to get the program started and that’s why we are involved,” said Dr. Jorge Marquez, UTEP counselor. “We had been working with Dr. Williams closely to not only get the program going, but to also to have it become its own program independently.”    

For anyone who participates in a recovery program, anonymity and discretion would be their personal decision.

“It’s at their discretion, we want to leave the freedom to the individual’s choice, rather than the organization prescribing it,” Williams said.

This would mean that in terms of activities, events or social media postings, those whose pictures are taken would be able to express their right to refuse their image being used in order to maintain anonymity.

As the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism notes, the problem with college drinking is not necessarily the drinking itself, but the negative consequences that result from excessive drinking.

Statistics from the institute show that each year, alcohol is responsible for 1,825 college student deaths, more than 97,000 cases of sexual assault or date rape and about 25 percent of college students report academic consequences due to drinking

UTEP CRP will host its campus-wide launch event on March 3.  The event will feature a panel discussion starting at 6 p.m. called “In Solidarity with Sobriety” and will conclude with a screening of the movie “Flight.” The event will be held at the Union Cinema on the first floor of Union East and is open to everyone.

Alonso Moreno may be reached at [email protected].

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Recover at UTEP