University of Maryland students who are in recovery for substance addiction can now apply online for clinical outpatient services with the opening of an off-campus treatment center in College Park this fall.

The Haven at College, a California-based company, has partnered with this university to form The Haven at College Park, and has launched its online application process, said The Haven co-CEO Sharon Weber. The Haven at College provides housing and addiction recovery services for college students in three other states: California, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

"We've been collaborating with UMD administrators for two years now," Weber said. "It feels exciting and satisfying that we're able to start engaging with students well before we officially open. It's worked at other universities to start connecting with students early."

The Haven at College Park will offer peer mentoring, individual counseling group therapy, life and social skills development, academic counseling, drug and alcohol testing and weekly meetings with an addictions counselor, among other clinical services, Weber said.

The Haven at College Park signed a lease Feb. 9 for a space located just south of the campus on Hartwick Road near College Park Towers and Applebee's that will house the outpatient clinic, Weber said.

The Haven will be moving into the first-floor area of the building which is currently empty and will be designed with the help of Terps for Recovery and other university students to create a "student-centric environment that people would want to come hang out in," Weber said.

"I'm all for the service," said freshman computer science major Brendan Cron, who called The Haven's addiction recovery services "a step in the right direction," but wondered if some "roadblocks" like denial and lack of awareness might prevent students from applying.

"People might say 'No, I don't have a problem,'" Cron said. "Making sure students know about [the program] and are aware" would help The Haven be successful, Cron said.

The Haven's proximity to the campus will be a major benefit to this university, said Mary Hummel, assistant vice president for student affairs. While students at this university can use its services, any community member can be a part of The Haven at College Park's community, Hummel said.

"Whether a person needs this resource or not, everyone knows someone" affected by substance addiction, she said. "Resources in this area are not geared toward students."

Students who apply to be in the program will complete an in-depth psychosocial and emotional assessment with The Haven's clinical director to determine the level of care they will need, Weber said. If students need a higher level of care than The Haven can offer, they will be referred to an outside facility, she added, citing detox and mental health disorders as examples of issues that might fall outside of The Haven's scope.

This university currently offers substance-free housing on campus at Carroll Hall. Students with substance abuse problems may seek help at the University Health Center and the Counseling Center, according to Sharon Gordon-Kirkland, director of the Counseling Center.

In a 2016 survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of 9 million full-time college students aged 18 to 22, more than a third reported binge drinking and almost 2 million reported using drugs in the past month. About 250,000 students have received treatment for alcohol or other substance abuse, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive from 2014.

Renovation on the outpatient site will begin immediately and will include amenities such as a coffee bar and student lounge, Weber said. The clinic will be available to all university students and will be staffed by licensed clinicians, and student health insurance will cover outpatient services, she added.

Where students in the program will live full-time has not yet been finalized, but Weber is "pretty confident" that the off-campus student residence for participants will be a block of apartments totaling eight beds located at the Terrapin Row apartment complex. A similar housing format is utilized at other Haven locations, she said.

"This arrangement enables us to scale up and down as needed," Weber said. "We don't know what the demand will be like initially. This gives us much more flexibility."

Applications for housing will be available to students starting March 1, Weber said. The cost of housing will be standard Terrapin Row rates — which range from about $1,059 to $1,379 per month, according to its website — plus an additional fee for The Haven's services. This fee has not yet been determined, Weber said.

Junior criminology and criminal justice major Scott Myers applauded this university's efforts to help fight the opioid epidemic in Prince George's County through the center. There were 93 opioid-related deaths in Prince George's County from January to September 2017, up from 79 deaths in the same nine-month span in 2016, according to a state health department report.

"I know people who are getting hooked on heroin," Myers said. "For any kind of drug related illness — because that's what it is — if the university is providing some sort of housing, that's better because it isolates them away from other students, stopping that influence."

The Haven has also hired one non-clinical employee and a student care manager to handle administrative operations, and candidates are being interviewed for a clinical director position at the outpatient clinic, Weber said. A staff of case managers and therapists will be hired soon after based on the demand from students, she said.

A panel discussion will be held at Stamp Student Union on Feb. 21 to discuss this university's current on-campus substance-free housing options and new off-campus housing including The Haven at College Park. Representatives from the Department of Resident Life, The Haven at College and Terps for Recovery will be in attendance, and students, faculty and staff are welcome to take part in the discussion.

"Getting people the treatment that they need, that's important," Myers said. "I like to see Terps do well."