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College Drinking Prevention - Changing the Culture

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What Colleges Need to Know Now: An Update on College Drinking Research

A Call to Action: Changing the Culture of Drinking at U.S. Colleges

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A Call to Action: Changing the Culture of Drinking at U.S. Colleges

Recommendations for Colleges and Universities

"I'm in my prime drinking years, and I intend to take full advantage of it!"

  • College student, after a few drinks at a wedding

Excessive Drinking During College as a “Developmental Disturbance”

Developmental disturbance features:

  • Time-limited deviance
  • Unpredictable in advance based on individual risk factors
  • Not predictive of future functioning (if you are lucky)

The 3-in-1 Framework

  • Individuals, Including At-Risk or Alcohol-Dependent Drinkers
  • Student Body as a Whole
  • College and the Surrounding Community

Human Ecology Approach

  • Individual embedded in social context
  • To change behavior, best bet is to intervene at both individual and context level
  • Demand and supply

Tier 2

Evidence of Success With General Populations That Could Be Applied to College Environments

Recommendations — Tier 2

  • (1) Increased enforcement of minimum drinking age laws
  • (2) Implementation, increased publicity, and enforcement of other laws to reduce alcohol–impaired driving
  • Reduce Alcohol–Impaired Driving

    • Lower legal blood alcohol limits reduces alcohol–related crashes (e.g., Hingson et al., 1996, 2000)
    • Make it illegal for those under 21 to drive after any drinking
    • Administrative license revocation

  • (3) Restrictions on alcohol retail outlet density
  • Local Outlet Density

    • Higher levels of drinking and “binge” drinking with higher number of alcohol outlets within one mile of campus (Chaloupka & Wechsler, 1996)
    • Even simple mapping may suggest interventions

  • (4) Increased price and excise taxes on alcoholic beverages
  • Pricing

    • Many studies show association of price with consumption and harmful outcomes, especially for young heavy drinkers (Toomey & Wagenaar, 2002)
    • For example:
      • Restrictions on happy hours or price promotions
      • Excise taxes on alcohol

  • (5) Responsible beverage service policies in social and commercial settings
  • Server Training and Responsible Policies (Saltz, Holder, et al.)

    • Limiting sales of pitches
    • Alcohol-free drinks and food
    • No more last call
    • ID Checks

  • (6) The formation of a campus and community coalition may be critical to implement these strategies effectively
  • Community Interventions

    • PRC Community Trials Project (Holder, Saltz et al.)
    • Communities Mobilizing for Change (Wagenaar et al)
    • Massachusetts Saving Lives Program (Hingson et al.)

Examples of Tier 2 Interventions

Northwest Region

Willamette University

  • Community Task Force
  • Greater Enforcement – Underage
  • Training in Controlled Dispersal

University of Portland

  • Community Substance Abuse Prevention Team
  • End of Finals Night
  • Business Training in Marketing & Pricing
  • Integrated Evaluation Data

Washington State University

  • Comprehensive Community Program
  • Greater Enforcement – Proactive
  • Coupled with extensive Normative Education

Concluding Thoughts

  • Try to keep major players moving in the same direction
  • Keep trying (even when you succeed)
  • Involve local researchers for design and evaluation

Historical document
Last reviewed: 9/23/2005

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