Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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Recovery for Students is Possible

Ryan Elkins is a social work major and the peer recovery support specialist
and program coordinator for Marshall’s Collegiate Recovery Center.
Ryan Elkins is a social work major and the peer recovery support specialist and program coordinator for Marshall’s Collegiate Recovery Center.

Ryan Elkins, the peer recovery support specialist and program coordinator for Marshall’s Collegiate Recovery Center, is an advocate for peer-to-peer support on campus.  

“I just want people to know they’re not alone,” Elkins said regarding what he wants visitors to the CRC to take away. “We’re here to support them, no matter what their problem is, and there’s always hope.” 

The CRC is housed in the Wellness Center on the second floor of the Memorial Student Center in room 2W16A. Both centers offer a place for people to find skills and resources to better their lives through recovery plans, addiction support and wellness living practices.

As a fellow Marshall student majoring in social work, Elkins focuses his work on catering to the student community by using his own experience with recovery to empathize with other students struggling with addiction. 

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“I think it’s vitally important that we have something just for our students that they know is for them,” Elkins said. “It’s not just a random service provider off the street. It’s also another student, somebody that works and goes to school here, somebody that understands what they’re going through.”

Beyond campus, Eklins also started a nonprofit in Lincoln County called Lincoln County Community Outreach Program seven years ago when he himself entered recovery. LCCOP has a mobile outreach event every weekend that travels through different areas near Lincoln County providing Narcan training, drug testing strips, peer support and referrals to different sober living and detox treatment services. 

“I was taught we can only keep what we have by giving it away,” Elkins said. “Service is the greatest aspect of recovery. If we’re not trying to help others, if we’re only thinking of ourselves, then we return to that self-centered, self-obsessive state that we were in in active addiction.”

Much like the mobile outreach program with LCCOP, Elkins said he is willing to meet students wherever they are to ensure they receive the help and support needed. He said he can go to fraternity houses, sorority houses, club meetings and anywhere on campus to provide peer support.

There are several meetings for addiction recovery that take place virtually and on campus, none of which are affiliated with Alcoholics Anonymous. The CRC focuses on an all recovery model, which means all meetings are anonymous; however, there is not a 12 step program associated with the meetings, and all meetings encompass all forms of addiction. 

“The program itself is all inclusive, hence all recovery,” Elkins said, “and when we say all, we don’t just mean substance use: so, gambling, shopping, porn, sex, whatever it might be. All recovery is for everybody.”

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