The Healthier Students for Stronger Campuses Act (S 1281, 116th Congress) would create and provide grants for colleges and universities to expand student access to substance abuse services. Specifically, the grants would allow higher education institutions to improve faculty and staff education to detect the signs of substance use disorder, and bolster evidence-based practices (e.g., recovery services, mental or behavioral health counseling, treatments) to prevent and treat substance use disorders in students. Grants would be awarded for a period of less than five years with the possibility to extend for an additional two years under circumstances in which “satisfactory progress is made in preventing and reducing substance use disorders.” These grants would be jointly administered by the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The bill would authorize $100 million for these grants.
A 2016 report from SAMHSA illustrates the rates of substance use among college students, indicating the staggering number of individuals who use substances (i.e., alcohol and marijuana) from ages 18 to 22. The National Institute on Drug Abuse provides additional materials relating to college students’ use of drugs and alcohol.