Christian colleges and universities can speak to substance abuse and provide addiction recovery services in ways that secular schools can’t, said Lilly Ettinger, the assistant director of wellness and recovery at Baylor University. In 2017, she helped launch the Beauchamp Addiction Recovery Center (BARC) at Baylor, a Baptist school of about 17,000 students in Waco, Texas. The BARC is on the first floor of a Baylor dorm in a busy part of campus and serves about 60 students a week who are struggling with addiction or in recovery.
Nine male students at the University of Southern California have died so far this semester, at least three from suicide and four from suspected overdoses. Three of them died over four days, starting Nov. 8.
“Students are pleading for answers from the university,” said Natalie Bettendorf, managing editor of The Daily Trojan student newspaper. “There’s a sense of desperation from within the student body. There have been too many deaths and not enough answers.”
Administrators at the private university in Los Angeles are trying to quell fears and answer questions. USC President Carol L. Folt confirmed the deaths last week and said the university was “doubling down” on educating students about drug and substance abuse. “And in particular, we’ve been also talking about the real risks of mixing opioids and prescription drugs and alcohol because we are concerned about that,” she told the Los Angeles Times.
USC administrators sent an all-campus letter last week warning about drug and alcohol abuse and reminding students of available mental health services and counseling. The school, with an enrollment of more than 47,000 students, increased the number of mental health counselors on campus by nearly 50 percent this fall to 45 counselors and four psychiatrists, the Times reported.