Aiding Those in Recovery Through Education

Supporting long-term recovery is a major component of fighting the opioid epidemic but one that often is overshadowed. The Ammon Foundation, founded last March, aids those recovering the disease of addiction by providing support to continue education.

This week’s blog is courtesy of Mariel Hufnagel, Executive Director of the Ammon Foundation whose inspiring story of recovery has been featured in the ReachNJ campaign. Mariel has been a major collaborator with PDFNJ, speaking at events including the faith-based Do No Harm Symposium and several Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Halls.

The Ammon Foundation: Our How and Why

By Mariel Hufnagel

The country is in the midst of an opioid epidemic that is claiming an average of 91 deaths per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Overdose deaths have increased steadily over the last 15 years. However, addiction is not a new problem, and there is so much that can be done to effectively support an individual’s recovery. One way to encourage sobriety and stability is through the pursuit of education.

Your past does not determine your future

According to the Association of Recovery in Higher Education (ARHE), students in collegiate recovery programs (CRPs) — recovery support environments based on college campuses — are far more likely to maintain abstinence than individuals in early recovery who are not in such a program. One study found only an 8 percent relapse rate among CRP residents; this is in stark contrast to the 40-60 percent relapse rates reported among individuals with substance use disorders in general.

Even without the support of a CRP, obtaining education, either through college or vocational training, helps foster a sense of purpose and accomplishment for individuals who may have been suffering from addiction for years. It helps build people’s self-confidence and allows them to re-build a life they are proud of.

The Ammon Foundation believes that higher education is a strengthening factor for individuals with substance use disorders to prevent relapse. The pursuit of higher education fosters a sense of purpose and hope that is essential to stable recovery. However, accessing higher education can be challenging for individuals in early recovery for many reasons — financial obstacles, legal history, prior academic “failures,” and general confusion in navigating the system.

A comprehensive approach to increasing opportunities for individuals in recovery

The Ammon Foundation is committed to providing $100,000 in academic scholarships for individuals in recovery annually. Scholarships are awarded through a competitive application process, and it is our hope that this financial assistance will make it easier for individuals in recovery to continue their journey toward a meaningful career. Each winning applicant can be awarded a scholarship of up to $1,000.

Additionally, our Empowerment Workshop Series provides comprehensive training and support in areas such as resume writing and interviewing, applying to school, choosing a major, and more.

At the Ammon Foundation, we want to ensure that anyone in recovery who wants to access higher education has the means and support to do so. To learn more about who we are and what we do, please visit

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