Recovery Campus magazine interviews StepUP’S Patrice Salmeri

Pratice Salmeri on the coverAs Augsburg’s new executive director for recovery advancement, Patrice Salmeri will work to reduce stigma associated with substance use disorder recovery, inspire additional universities to provide recovery programs, and work with StepUP Program alumni, among other duties. Salmeri has led Augsburg’s pioneering StepUP Program for the past 15 years, and Recovery Campus magazine featured Salmeri in a story about the transition to her new role and the current climate of recovery in higher education.

In the article, Salmeri explained that while she’ll miss daily interaction with StepUP students, she is truly “looking forward to focusing more attention on the alumni and the value they bring to our community as well as advocating on local, regional and national levels.”

Read more about Salmeri’s areas of focus on the Recovery Campus website.

 

 

Scott Washburn discusses public figures’ privacy with MinnPost

Scott Washburn, assistant director of Augsburg College’s StepUP® program, was one the experts interviewed by MinnPost for an article examining public figures’ right to privacy as well as the rights of the public figures’ significant others. The article examined an overarching theme that probed, “How much of a candidate’s own personal life should be made available for public debate?”

In responding to a question on whether it is appropriate for the mental health or addiction history of a political spouse or other family member to be made public, Washburn argued that sort of political playmaking goes over the line.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate at all,” Washburn said. “The candidate is running, not the family member. The electorate is voting for the candidate, not the family member. The family of a presidential candidate is going to be dragged into the public eye, but I think it’s important to respect some boundaries here. It’s an issue of respect and privacy. The candidate would be fair game from my perspective, but I don’t think family members should be. It just reflects how low things have gone in this political race.

All that being said, if the family member chooses to publically disclose his or her personal history, then that is a different conversation.”

Read additional responses from Washburn in “When is a public figure’s mental health or addiction status off limits?” on the MinnPost site.

Expert: Salmeri available to respond to President Obama’s address on substance abuse disorders, prescription drug addiction

Patrice Salmeri is director of Augsburg's residential collegiate recovery program

MINNEAPOLIS — Patrice Salmeri, director of Augsburg College’s StepUP® Program for students in recovery and President of the Association of Recovery in Higher Education, is a national expert available to talk to media about President Barack Obama’s announcement to bolster medial services for persons in recovery from substance abuse disorders.

When: Salmeri is available until 6:30 p.m., beginning immediately following President Barack Obama’s announcement. (Watch President Obama on the White House live stream at 2:15 p.m. EST at https://www.whitehouse.gov/live.)

What: Salmeri can address the importance of eliminating stigma by:

  • Shifting language used to describe these disorders. For instance, rather than using the term “addiction,” shifting to “substance abuse disorders” to recognize that addiction is a medical issue.
  • Treating substance abuse disorders as medical issues, not unlike society responds to diabetes or other chronic medical illnesses.
  • Ensuring those with substance abuse disorders can access mental health and substance use services as readily as other medical services.

How: Call Stephanie Weiss, director of news and media services, at 612.330.1476.

Full Bio: Patrice Salmeri is the Director of the StepUP® Program at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the largest residential collegiate recovery programs in the nation. She also serves as the President of the Association of Recovery in Higher Education.

She is a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor, holds a Master’s Degree in Human Development specializing in leadership and spirituality, and also serves as an adjunct faculty member at Augsburg teaching courses related to chemical dependency. During Salmeri’s tenure as Director of StepUP, the program has experienced a 250 percent increase in the quantity of young people in recovery pursuing a college education.

In 2011, The U.S. Department of Education appointed Salmeri a Fellow for the United States Department of Education’s Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Violence Prevention. In 2013, The Association for Recovery in Higher Education presented Patrice with The Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Contribution to Collegiate Recovery.

Scott Washburn is interviewed by MinnPost

MinnPostScott Washburn, assistant director of Augsburg College’s StepUP® program and a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, was one of three experts interviewed by MinnPost in an article examining the impact of Minnesota’s legalization of medical marijuana on teens’ views of the drug. Citing multiple studies, the article explains that there is growing concern that recent legalization of the drug will result in a lower perceived risk, which could result in increased teen use.

In the article, Washburn agrees that there is a correlation between the perceived risks associated with using a substance and actual use of it. He references an ongoing University of Michigan study that tracks high school students’ views and habits regarding a variety of substances. In looking at their data on tobacco and marijuana use, he says, “What’s noteworthy is that in 2010, those two lines crossed. Tobacco use started to decline in 1998 continuing up to 2014. But marijuana use continued to go up and eventually was higher than tobacco use.” Washburn attributes this reversal to our culture’s “significant shift in attitude about marijuana use.”

Washburn then outlines his approach to unraveling what teens and students sometimes see as mixed messages, that the drug is medically beneficial while being potentially addictive and harmful. “I tell my students that just because a drug can harm you doesn’t also mean that it can’t help you,” he says in the article. He adds that, “Vicodin and Oxycodone are legal drugs, but just because they are prescribed by physicians for valid reasons doesn’t mean that they can’t be harmful and dangerous when used incorrectly.”

Read: ‘It’s just pot’: Does legalization of medical marijuana change teens’ attitudes about it? on the MinnPost site.

Going to any lengths for sobriety

summitforsobrietyFor these young men, the story isn’t about getting sober, staying sober, or even about climbing a mountain. It’s about second chances and taking chances.

Tommy Chester and Andy Thomas [left to right] are both first-year students in Augsburg’s StepUP® Program. Both tried to go to college twice and failed miserably they say, and both were scared to go to treatment for their addiction. Today they’re using the second chance they’ve been given to help others, specifically by climbing to the summit of Mt. Rainier. Continue reading “Going to any lengths for sobriety”

StepUP Program hosts recovery and education conference

stepUP_conf The Augsburg College StepUP Program will present a conference titled “Networking For Change: Recovery and Education.” The conference will be held Monday, Aug. 11 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. in Foss Center and Oren Gateway Center at Augsburg College.

The conference, funded by a grant from the State of Minnesota Office of Higher Education, will attract licensed alcohol and drug counselors, staff from local agencies working with students in recovery, high school teachers and counselors, and state officials who support Augsburg’s receipt of the grant. Continue reading “StepUP Program hosts recovery and education conference”

One step, one story, one journey

stepupThe Augsburg College StepUP program will celebrate its first decade as a collegiate recovery community with a dinner gala and silent auction on Thursday, Feb. 28 at 5:30 p.m. Andrew Zimmern, Twin Cities chef and host of the Travel Channel’s hit series “Bizarre Foods” will be the emcee, and the keynote address will be given by producer and director Peter Bisanz. The program will also include stories of experience, strength, and hope from current StepUP students and alumni.

StepUP is a nationally known and respected program that supports students in recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs. In its first 10 years, StepUP experienced an 84% abstinence rate, and currently students maintain a 2.9 mean cumulative grade-point average. The program has grown from 23 students in 1997 to 64 students in this current year. Continue reading “One step, one story, one journey”

StepUP program featured on higher education site

step_upOn Dec. 18, Augsburg’s StepUP program was featured in a story on Inside Higher Ed, a daily online news site for higher education.

Interviews with StepUP student Anne Thompson and director Patrice Salmeri highlight how Augsburg’s 10-year-old program supports students in recovery from chemical addiction. Setting Augsburg’s program apart from recovery programs in other colleges are the successes of the residential program on campus; the extent of counselor and peer support; and the academic support services available, such as tutoring, that continually provide support to students. Continue reading “StepUP program featured on higher education site”