Temple’s opioid task force delivers recommendations

Temple’s opioid task force stopped meeting and made recommendations in December.

Geography and urban studies professor Jerry Stahler was a member of Temple’s Opioid Task Force. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University is reviewing recommendations from its Task Force on Opioid and Related Drug Addiction and Recovery Support, which completed a review of the university’s current policies for helping students with substance use disorder and those who are in recovery.

The task force completed its objectives and stopped meeting twice each month in December 2018, said Stephanie Ives, the associate vice president and dean of students. It submitted a report to President Richard Englert and Provost JoAnne Epps, which suggests the university identify students with substance use disorder, and provide support groups and recovery housing on campus. 

“We want to ensure that the Temple environment is a place where students who are living in recovery would feel supported and confident that the resources are here,” Ives said.

The task force first recommended the university identify students who are seeking recovery options and those recovering from substance use disorders, with the help of Tuttleman Counseling Services and the Wellness Resource Center. 

The task force also recommended Temple implement on-campus housing for students in recovery. Other recommendations suggested the university intervene when students have substance use disorder by helping them seek recovery, Ives said, and bring students into a strong recovery community at Temple. 

The recommendations would require the university to hire at least one employee who would work with university support to address the needs of these students, Ives said.

Once the university has hired someone in charge of the recovery program, it would then initiate a study to find the best way to provide for students with substance use disorders, said Jerry Stahler, a geography and urban studies professor who was a member of the task force. 

“Housing is a really important consideration and we need to do it right,” Stahler said.

Penn State University, Rutgers and Drexel offer student recovery housing, The Temple News reported in September 2017, after Temple Student Government members passed a bill to explore recovery housing options. Most include live-in recovery staff, 12-step meetings and counseling services for students in recovery.

Before Stahler joined the task force, he held a panel in his class, Drugs in Urban Society, where students asked questions and made suggestions on how to support students in recovery. Stahler collected the suggestions in and presented them to the task force.

“The students came up with a really great list of ideas, some I hadn’t thought of, and nobody else had suggested,” Stahler said. “…Every idea that was suggested by the students was actually considered as part of the list of recommendations.” 

Englert is grateful for the work the task force has done, he wrote in a statement to The Temple News.

“Their expertise and commitment to the health and well-being of our students are outstanding,” he wrote. “This issue is a highly complex one.”

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