NDSU council releases results of plan to address high-risk drinking
The NDSU President’s Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs announces the release of its Final Report on the 2009-2012 Strategic Plan to Address High Risk Alcohol and Other Drug Use. The final report provides an overview of the council’s efforts and progress. It also provides a preview of upcoming prevention initiatives.
“This report is the capstone of the focused efforts of the council over the past several years,” said Gene Taylor, chair of the council and director of NDSU Athletics. “It is reflective of the hard work and commitment of this group and the entire campus community toward reducing alcohol and drug-related harm for our students.”
One of the council’s accomplishments was providing research data to local law enforcement to help maximize the effectiveness of sobriety checkpoints. Kevin Thompson, professor of criminal justice and member of the council, conducted a study evaluating sobriety checkpoints that took place in Fargo from 2004-2009. As a result of the study, recommendations were made to local law enforcement agencies to disseminate information in alternate ways to reach different audiences and to consider the timing of when checkpoints take place.
Another accomplishment was implementing the electronic Check-Up to Go as a requirement for all first-year students. It is an interactive Web survey that allows students to enter information about their alcohol use and provides feedback about personal risk patterns. Completion rates increased from 39 percent in fall 2009 to 95 percent in fall 2012 and spring 2013.
The student-developed Before One More campaign was implemented in fall 2010. The purpose of the campaign is to reduce the negative effects of alcohol consumption by helping students understand when one drink is one too many and by teaching them how to make low-risk drinking decisions. Widespread distribution of campaign materials has led to a high level of visibility and recognition among NDSU students. A campaign study conducted in 2011-2012 revealed the campaign website content prompted students to think about their drinking choices and increased low and moderate risk drinkers’ confidence in making informed choices about alcohol use.
Initiatives like the Electronic Check-Up to Go and Before One More campaign help spread risk-reduction messages that may be tied to two strategic plan outcomes that were exceeded: reduction in students missing class and reduction in students performing poorly on a test or project because of alcohol or other drug use.
“It is encouraging that overall, rates of negative consequences related to alcohol and drug use are steadily declining,” said Erika Beseler Thompson, assistant director of alcohol and other drug abuse prevention at NDSU. “Changing behavior is slow work that requires persistence, so it was great to see this kind of progress taking place.”
Rates of alcohol and drug consumption, however, remained relatively constant. Beseler Thompson said the lack of change in consumption behavior supports qualitative data that drinking is perceived to be normal behavior in this part of the country. As a result, the new strategic plan, which will launch in fall 2013, will focus on collaboration with campus and community stakeholders to address environmental issues that contribute to high-risk alcohol and other drug use.
Read the full report at www.ndsu.edu/alcoholinfo/presidents_council_on_aod/pcaod_strategic_plan.