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Results and Recommendations from the Task Force on College Drinking

Fred Donodeo, M.P.A National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Jesuit Association of Student Personnel Administrators
March 19 , 2005

NIAAA: Bringing Science to the Field

  • Lead federal agency for research on the causes, consequences, prevention, and treatment of alcohol abuse, alcoholism, and alcohol problems
  • Responsible for 90% of U.S. research in this area
  • Disseminate research findings to scientists, practitioners, policy makers, and public (urging adoption of science-based information)

NIAAA Task Force on College Drinking

Chairs: Rev. Edward Malloy (Notre Dame) and Dr. Mark Goldman (South Florida)


  • College Presidents
  • Researchers
  • Students

Timeframe: 1998-2002

Task Force Roster:

  • Presidents
    • Rev. Edward Malloy, Notre Dame (Co-chair)
    • Tomas Arciniega, Cal. State Bakersfield
    • Robert Carothers, URI
    • John Casteen, UVA
    • Edward Foote, U of Miami
    • Michael Hooker, UNC Chapel Hill
    • William Jenkins, LSU
    • William Kirwan, Ohio State
    • James Lyons, Cal. State Dominguez Hills
    • Susan Resneck Pierce, U. of Puget Sound
    • Judith Ramaley, U of Vermont
  • Researchers and Practitioners
    • Mark Goldman, USF (Co-chair)
    • Marilyn Aguirre-Molina, Columbia U.
    • David Anderson, George Mason
    • Michael Fleming, Wisc-Madison
    • Bill DeJong, HEC
    • Ellen Gold, Eastern Michigan
    • Ralph Hingson, BU
    • Harold Holder, PIRE
    • Patrick Johnson, CASA, Columbia
    • Donald Kenkel, Cornell
    • G. Alan Marlatt, U of Washington
    • Marcus Rothschild, VA Med. Cntr
    • Robert Saltz, PIRE
    • Kenneth Sher, U of Missouri
    • Henry Wechsler, Harvard
    • Sharon Wilsnack, U. of North Dakota
    • Robert Zucker, U of Michigan

NIAAA Task Force on College Drinking

Why Created?

  • Increased public and NIAAA concern
  • Congressional inquiries
  • Gaps in research
  • Need to provide science-based information to colleges
  • Bring research to the forefront of the discussion


  • Source of new, comprehensive analysis and data on extent of the problem
  • Science-based recommendations to presidents and administrators
  • Science-based recommendations to NIAAA and the research community
  • Encourage all stakeholders to embrace rigorous methodology and research-based solutions; assist with new initiatives

Why was this task force unique?

  • First project of such length (3 years) involving presidents and researchers who deliberated to reach their conclusions
  • First NIH report on college drinking to offer recommendations based on a comprehensive review of the research literature
  • First report to offer tiered, research-based recommendations to presidents and staff
  • Offers a comprehensive research agenda to address gaps in knowledge

Planning and Evaluation Handbook

Results and Recommendations

Snapshot of College Drinking Consequences (All statistics are annual)

  • Death: 1,400 Alcohol-Related Unintentional Injury Deaths
  • Injury: 500,000 unintentional injuries
  • Assault: 600,000 assaults
  • Sexual Abuse: 70,000 victims of sexual assault
  • Unsafe sex: 400,000 had unprotected sex; 100,000 too intoxicated to give consent
  • Drunk Driving: 2.1 Million Drove Under the Influence
  • Academic problems: 25% report negative academic consequences

Other Relevant Trends

Students who drink most include:

  • Males
  • Whites
  • Members of fraternities and sororities
  • Athletes
  • Some first year students

Schools where excessive drinking is more likely to occur:

  • Greek systems dominate
  • Athletic teams are prominent
  • Schools in Northeast

Schools where excessive drinking is least likely to occur:

  • 2-year institutions
  • Religious schools
  • Commuter schools
  • HBCUs


  • The 3-in-1 Framework -- “a useful introduction to encourage presidents, administrators, college prevention specialists, students, and community members to think in a broad and comprehensive fashion about college drinking”
  • Individuals, including at-risk or alcohol-dependent drinkers
  • Student body as a whole
  • College and surrounding community

Tier 1: Evidence of Effectiveness Among College Students

  • Combining cognitive-behavioral skills with norms clarification and motivational enhancement interventions
  • Brief motivational enhancement interventions
  • Challenging alcohol expectancies

Tier 2: Evidence of Success With General Populations That Could Be Applied to College Environments

  • Increased enforcement of minimum drinking age laws
  • Implementation, increased publicity, and enforcement of other laws to reduce alcohol-impaired driving
  • Restrictions on alcohol retail outlet density
  • Increased prices and excise taxes
  • Responsible beverage service policies
  • Formation of campus and community coalition involving all major stakeholders (for implementation)

Tier 3: Evidence of Logical and Theoretical Promise, But Require More Comprehensive Evaluation

Adopting and evaluating promising campus-based policies and practices, such as:

  • Friday classes and exam
  • Expanded alcohol-free late night student activities
  • Eliminating keg parties where underage drinking is prevalent
  • Alcohol-free dormitories
  • Older, salaried resident assistants
  • Controlling or eliminating alcohol at sports events; prohibiting tailgating parties that model heavy alcohol use
  • Refusing sponsorship gifts from alcohol industry
  • Banning alcohol on campus, including at faculty and alumni events
  • Increasing enforcement at campus-based events that promote drinking
  • Increasing publicity about enforcement of underage drinking laws on campus and eliminating “mixed messages”
  • Consistently enforcing disciplinary actions associated with policy violations
  • Conducting marketing campaigns to correct student misperceptions about alcohol use
  • Provision of “safe rides” program
  • Regulation of happy hours and sales
  • Informing new students and parents about alcohol policies and penalties before arrival and during orientation periods

Tier 4: Evidence of Ineffectiveness

  • Informational, knowledge-based, or values clarification interventions about alcohol and problems associated with excessive use, when used alone
  • Providing blood alcohol content feedback


  • Problems associated with abusive and underage college drinking are more widespread than previously recognized
  • NIAAA report and conclusions are not an end, but a beginning – we want to continue to be a resource for information and research
  • Provide the foundation for science, rather than anecdote, to guide college drinking prevention efforts
  • On-going Products and Activities
  • NIAAA College Drinking Web site
  • Orientation Fact Sheet
  • New College Bulletin
  • Regional Workshops
  • Curriculum for Campus Health Care Providers
  • NIAAA Rapid Response Grant Program
  • NIAAA College Web site
  • Full reports
  • Online alcohol policies
  • Interactive body
  • New expanded parents section coming soon
  • Continued popularity: 21 million hits to date, and growing each month (Feb. 05: 1.2 million hits)

Orientation Fact Sheet

  • Excerpts from Task Force Report
  • Focus on first 6 weeks
  • Media Release 2003– 2.7 million impressions
  • Univ. Rhode Island – 2004 Orientation

For more information on printing with your logo, contact Fred Donodeo at NIAAA.

An Important Update: New College Bulletin

  • New Statistics
  • New Definition of Binge Drinking
  • New Discussion of Alcohol Poisoning
  • New Chart of Drinking Patterns during Freshman Year
  • Updates on NIAAA’s “Rapid Response” Grant Program and “Underage Steering Committee”

Regional Workshops

  • Wake Forest (North Carolina)
  • U. of Puget Sound (Multi-state)
  • Many in conjunction with HEC statewide coalitions

More to come...

Curriculum for Campus Health Care Providers

  • For campus-based health clinics
  • Identify and treat students either at risk for, or having, alcohol problems

Four Modules

  • Epidemiology and Prevention
  • Screening and Assessment
  • Brief Interventions
  • Motivational Interviewing

Continued Support for Research

  • Rapid Response Grants
  • “Investigator-initiated” Grants
  • NB: Loyola Marymount and Fordham

For Materials and More Information


Fred Donodeo