Implementing the NIAAA Recommendations: A Comprehensive Approach to Prevention

William DeJong, Ph.D.
Boston University School of Public Health &
Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention

Summary Slide

Implementing the NIAAA Recommendations: A Comprehensive Approach to Prevention

A Call to Action

  • Presents clear and convincing evidence on the true scope of the problem and its consequences - Action is needed
  • Offers guidance on how institutions of higher education should proceed with a prevention agenda - Here is what to do next

Key Recommendations

  • Comprehensive approach to address the culture of drinking
  • Reliance on research-based solutions
  • Integration of evaluation research into program and policy planning
  • Conduct of new research to address current gaps in knowledge

Proven Strategies for the General Population

  • Increased enforcement of minimum drinking age laws
  • Programs and enforcement of laws to reduce alcohol-impaired driving
  • Restrictions on alcohol retail outlet density
  • Increased prices and higher excise taxes on alcoholic beverages
  • Responsible beverage service policies

Additional Promising Strategies

  • Increased enforcement at campus-based events
  • Increased publicity about enforcement of underage drinking laws
  • Consistent disciplinary actions for policy violations
  • Parental notification regarding policies and infractions
  • Campus-based strategies to reduce high-risk alcohol use (e.g., banning alcohol)
  • Regulation of happy hours and sales
  • Social norms campaigns to correct student misperceptions about drinking
  • "Safe ride" programs

Major Implications

  • Prevention must go beyond traditional programs to address environmental factors
  • College officials must take an active role in giving shape to a campus and community environment that helps students make healthier decisions
  • Formation of campus and community coalitions is the most promising vehicle for promoting environmental change
  • Message to the Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention: Stay the Course

Environmental Factors Contributing to Alcohol Problems

  • Widespread belief that college alcohol and other drug abuse is the norm
  • Aggressive alcohol promotions targeting college students
  • Easy availability of inexpensive alcohol
  • Unstructured free time for many students
  • Inconsistently enforced laws and policies

Environmental Strategies

  • Create an environment that supports health-promoting norms
  • Restrict marketing and promotion of alcoholic beverages
  • Limit alcohol availability and access
  • Offer social, recreational, public service, and other extracurricular options
  • Develop and enforce campus policies and local, state, and federal laws

Institutionalization: Building a Prevention Infrastructure

  • Environmental strategies
    • Campus
    • Community
    • State/Federal Policy
  • Prevention infrastructure
    • Permanent campus task force
    • Campus/community coalitions
    • Regional and state initiatives

Infrastructure Development

  • Goal:
    • Statewide initiatives in all 50 states
  • Rationale:
    • Develop statewide leadership
    • Stimulate public and private funding
    • Create campus/community coalitions
    • Speak out on state-level policy

Presidential Leadership

Be Vocal

Openly and publicly acknowledge that alcohol and other drug abuse problems exist and must be addressed.

Be Visible

Take an active stand on alcohol and other drug issues, convey clear expectations and standards, and serve as a role model to other senior administrators, faculty, and students.

Be Visionary

Make alcohol and other drug abuse prevention a priority in the school's strategic plan, and reach out to community and state-level groups to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy for prevention.

Motivating Presidential Leadership

Getting Past Sources of Resistance

Mythology #1

  • The vast majority of college students drink heavily - "At our school, students work hard and play hard."
  • Testing limits with alcohol is a "rite of passage." - "I drank when I was in college. It's just part of growing up."

The Facts

Each Year College Drinking Causes:

  • 1,400 student deaths
  • 500,000 unintentional injuries
  • 600,000 assaults
  • 70,000 sexual assaults/acquaintance rapes

Mythology #2 - Fatalism

  • Nothing can be done to reduce college student drinking problems.
    • "We've been working on this problem for years, but we haven't made any progress."
    • "Students come here with drinking problems, so what do you expect us to do?"
    • "If students want to drink, they're going to drink."

The Facts

  • The age 21 law works, despite its imperfect enforcement
  • Progress is possible
    • Drunk driving
    • Smoking
    • Seat belt use
  • NIAAA Report highlights effective environmental approaches

Mythology #2 - Student Resistance

  • Students will resist tougher policies.
    • "I can vote when I'm 18, so why can't I buy a beer?"
    • "The days of in loco parentis are over."
    • "We'll have a harder time recruiting new students."

Survey Questions

(18 Colleges and Universities)

To what extent do you support or oppose the following possible policies or procedures?

To what extent do you think other students at this school support or oppose the following possible policies or procedures?

Perceived Support: Strict Enforcement

(% of Respondents)

  • 65.2 - Use stricter disciplinary sanctions for students who engage in alcohol-related violence
  • 40.9 - Use stricter disciplinary sanctions for students who repeatedly violate campus alcohol policies
  • 24.2 - Apply stricter penalties for the use of false IDs to purchase alcohol illegally
  • 16.3 - Conduct undercover operations at bars, restaurants, and liquor stores to increase compliance with underage laws

Actual Support: Strict Enforcement

(% of Respondents)

  • 90.1 - Use stricter disciplinary sanctions for students who engage in alcohol-related violence
  • 72.6 - Use stricter disciplinary sanctions for students who repeatedly violate campus alcohol policies
  • 59.5 - Apply stricter penalties for the use of false IDs to purchase alcohol illegally
  • 45.8 - Conduct undercover operations at bars, restaurants, and liquor stores to increase compliance with underage laws

The Facts

  • A majority of students support many policies, especially strict enforcement
  • College administrators and community officials should not assume a lack of student support for policy change

Reducing Alcohol Problems on Campus: A Guide to Planning and Evaluation

Robert F. Saltz and William DeJong
NIAAA
Task Force of the National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov

Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention

Phone: 614-292-5572
Website: www.hecaod.osu.edu
Email: hecaod@osu.edu