Oregon’s Universities Work to Educate Students About Alcohol Abuse
September 8, 2011--The University of Oregon is among 500 universities across the nation, and the only one in Oregon, to require students under the age of 21 to take an online course on alcohol abuse.
The two-part course, AlcoholEdu for College, is a requirement for all first-year and transfer students. Jennifer Summers, the university’s director of substance abuse prevention, said the course will teach students about the effects of drinking alcohol, how to not misuse or abuse alcohol, ways to cope with friends or peers who do drink, and the connection between alcohol and sexual harassment.
“It teaches students to make well-informed decisions, but also to link alcohol to their choices [about] academic and personal success,” Summers said.
The university will use the online course for the next four years in an attempt to lessen alcohol abuse and misuse. Approximately 1 percent of its students said they drank alcohol every day within a 30-day period when they completed the American College Health Assessment. In contrast, 24 percent of students said they didn’t drink in those 30 days, or did so infrequently.
Since 2000, Oregon State University has collaborated with Benton County’s Health Department to reduce underage drinking by doing educational outreach. The county and university also work with businesses on how to check for ID.
Kelly Locey, Benton County health’s adolescent health promotion program coordinator, said the county’s health office focuses on people between the ages of 18 and 25 more than other health departments might “because we have a unique population given that we have OSU in Benton County.”
Surveys by OSU students, Locey said, “show an increase in knowledge, skills and awareness of community resources around substance abuse prevention.”
Pat Ketcham, OSU’s associate director of health promotion, said the university’s relationship with law enforcement and area businesses are stronger because of the collaboration.
“Anytime we heighten the awareness of the risks associated with the misuse or abuse of alcohol it helps students make better decisions,” she said.