Interact for Health

Q&A: Sarah Nerad, program manager, Ohio State Collegiate Recovery Community

(Mar 27th, 2017)

Sarah Nerad is the program manager for the Ohio State University (OSU) Collegiate Recovery Community and director of recovery for OSU's Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Drug Misuse Prevention and Recovery. Together, the two programs aim to support students and universities across the country with recovery efforts. Nerad spoke with Interact for Health to discuss the successes and lessons learned from these programs.

Interact for Health: Could you explain more about the Collegiate Recovery Community and the Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Drug Misuse Prevention and Recovery and their goals?

Sarah Nerad: The Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC) is a program designed to support students in or seeking recovery from alcohol and other drug addiction. The CRC and its programs allow students to have an authentic college experience while maintaining their recovery. The goal is to help our students maintain their recovery while pursuing their education. The Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Drug Misuse Prevention and Recovery (HECAOD) is a national resource for colleges and universities to better address alcohol and drug misuse prevention and recovery on their campus. The center is committed to promoting student success by providing data driven solutions, leading the national dialogue on alcohol and drug misuse prevention and recovery and ensuring student success.

Interact for Health: What lessons have you learned from working with these programs?

Nerad: A lesson learned at the CRC is that you need to continue to get the word out about your recovery program because students in recovery can sometimes be hard to find and keep engaged in the recovery process. Working with HECAOD, I've learned the importance of building strong partnerships. The HECAOD is a partnership between the Ohio State College of Social Work, College of Pharmacy, Office of Student Life, Generation Rx Initiative and Collegiate Recovery Community. Together, we were able to bring back the former U.S. Department of Education's Higher Education Center, which had just started to address recovery in the last year or two of its existence.

Interact for Health: Could you tell me a brief story that illustrates the effect of these programs in the community?

Nerad: The students of the CRC are our biggest success. I remember one student in particular who came to us after getting into some serious legal trouble. He jumped right in to the CRC and instantly became a leader in our community. He not only lived in our recovery house, but eventually became the Resident Advisor. This student successfully completed his diversion program and graduated from Ohio State. He has maintained his recovery and is experiencing the many blessings recovery has to offer such as getting engaged and having a fulfilling career. This student utilized everything that the CRC had to offer and is a strong example of the power of recovery and the resiliency of our students.

Interact for Health: What about your work is most fulfilling?

Nerad: At both the CRC and HECAOD, we are committed to being a national leader and ensuring that recovery is a part of the national agenda. I am excited to help contribute to this nascent field of collegiate recovery by contributing to research, product development and best practices. Having been a part of a collegiate recovery program myself during my undergraduate years, I know how valuable these programs are. I am honored to help fill the gap on our college campuses for students in recovery by advocating for recovery support.