As Life of Purpose Treatment grows as a substance use treatment provider, its founder and CEO continues to build on his parallel goal of facilitating evidence-based research on recovery. Life of Purpose announced this week that it has committed funds for a second research center to be supported by the organization—this one located at the University of North Texas.
“If we don’t get actual research published with universities, we’re failing to equip our front-line people in the recovery advocacy movement,” Life of Purpose CEO Andrew Burki, MSW, tells Addiction Professional. “Research is how you change legislation, how you change public policy. Otherwise, you just have opinion.”
Life of Purpose, which was the first organization to establish a U.S. residential addiction treatment facility on a college campus (at Florida Atlantic University in Palm Beach County), has committed $100,000 for the establishment of the Office of Substance Misuse and Mental Health Recovery Research at the Denton-based University of North Texas. As is the case with the recovery research office it helped to launch at Florida Atlantic University, the University of North Texas office will be a full-fledged entity controlled by the university; it is being established under the university’s Department of Disability and Addictions Rehabilitation.
“It’s insane that we’re not putting hundreds of millions of dollars into research to attack this problem,” Burki says in reference to addiction and the toll it takes on society.
The research entities that Life of Purpose has helped to create are designed to capture academic talent from a number of disciplines, from neuroscience to social work. Corporate support has helped to grow the Florida research center that was established in early 2015, and the goal is to pursue endowments that will allow research chairs to be created, Burki says.
Today, it is generally accepted that with the kind of support that an on-campus collegiate recovery program can provide, young people in recovery can successfully pursue their dreams. Studies have shown that college students participating in on-campus recovery programs have low relapse rates and outperform their peers academically, says Burki, who serves on the national board of the organization Young People in Recovery.
Our takeaway: Aside from being a friend, we know Andrew to be as committed, passionate, and authentic as they come. For every day we criticize everything that is going wrong in addiction treatment, Andrew Burki, his staff, and Life of Purpose, as a shining beacon of light from which we should aspire to support.