“Thanks, you saved my life. Really.”
“Please come to my graduation from CSU, I wouldn’t be here without you.”
“When I got into Back On TRAC, driving drunk and doing stupid stuff in a blackout was normal for me. I am so grateful I didn’t kill anybody.“
“Just wanted you all to know that I have been accepted to law school, that is a far cry from when I was out of control and just coming out of jail.“
This is the most common kind of feedback students express about their Back on TRAC experience. It is a difficult program. It’s not fun — but really, really important. That’s why I’m writing: to address recent articles in the Collegian that perpetuated inaccuracies about the program.
Since 2001, more than 600 students have completed the BOT Program. The program is CSU Health Network’s intensive drug and alcohol outpatient treatment program.
To qualify, a student must have a university or criminal infraction that result in a suspension from the university. Students are not suspended for minor infractions. The kinds of circumstances that warrant a suspension include one big incident or a series of incidents involving alcohol and other drug use.
Frequently students have criminal charges, serious drug offenses, emergency room and intensive care interventions, DUIs and alcohol or drug-related accidents or injuries. Students frequently have long histories of use along with accompanying and escalating problems and consequences. This is the program of last resort.
The BOT program is optional. No one is ever forced to participate. A student who is kicked out of school may apply to the BOT program to earn second chance to continue to attend CSU.
BOT students are required to give up all alcohol and drug use during their time in the program and they have to prove it through testing. Getting alcohol and drugs out of the way gives them a chance to work on important things for a while — like school, values, priorities, relationships, goal setting, taking good care of themselves, families and recovering from mistakes (sometimes really big ones).
The Back on TRAC program is careful not to label students as alcoholic or drug addicted. Many students decide that for themselves and make long term choices to stay away from drugs and alcohol. Others take a time-out from a high risk lifestyle and are able to make better choices for themselves in the future. Some have trouble again and come back for a second try.
Participation in BOT is covered by Family Educational Rights Privacy Act and is not made available to the public. No one knows a student is in BOT unless they tell them, so while a criminal record can impact future employment, participating in BOT is confidential unless a student requests in writing that their records be made available to specific individuals.
The program does cost money, but the amount is a fraction of what community treatment programs cost. The CSU Health Network has no profit motive.
Back on TRAC staff are talented and caring professionals. They are tough as nails and have hearts of gold. They love what they do and the students they are helping. They dedicate every day to helping students recover from mistakes to give them a chance to complete their education and go on to have the kind of lives they dream of. They are awesome.
While I hope you never need this program, if you did, we are here for you.
Anne Hudgens is the executive director of the CSU Health Network