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According to the nonprofit S.A.F.E., nearly one in four U.S. college students meet the criteria for substance abuse or dependence. With recovery support services hard to come by on college campuses, the nonprofit is encouraging universities to launch them.

S.A.F.E., or Stop the Addiction Fatality Epidemic, was founded by retired Admiral Sandy Winnefeld and his wife, Mary Winnefeld, whose son died of a drug overdose his freshman year of college.

“We did not know what we did not know at the time,” said Sandy Winnefeld, “and if we did we probably would have sent him to a college that had a more robust recovery program.”

In partnership with ARHE, or the Association for Recovery in Higher Education, S.A.F.E. hosted its inaugural Recovery Leadership Academy. For the next year, 60 students in recovery and their mentors will coordinate a recovery related program on their campus. These programs can range from a room on campus to a dorm, or trainings and education.

“No student in recovery has to go to higher education without being properly supported in order for them to flourish and have success,” said ARHE President Thomas Kimball. 

For more information on the academy, visit