College And Alcohol College Alcohol Risk Assessment Guide Environmental Approaches to Prevention Barbara E. Ryan / Tom Colthurst / Lance Segars, PhD The Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention Education Development Center, Inc.
55 Chapel Street Newton, MA 02158-1060 Tel: 800 676-1730 In cooperation with Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Studies UCSD Extension, University of California, San Diego This publication was supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE). Acknowledgments We wish to thank the individuals listed below for reviewing draft manuscripts for this publication. We appreciate the comments they provided to help the authors assure that this Guide has a solid scientific foundation and contains clear messages. To the extent that we achieved that goal, the credit is theirs.
To the extent that we didn’t, the fault is ours. William DeJong, PhD, lecturer, Harvard School of Public Health. James H. Evans, MS, assistant professor of behavioral sciences and chair, Chemical Dependency Program, San Diego City College. Louis Gliksman, PhD, scientist and acting director, Social Evaluation and Research Department, Addiction Foundation, London, Ontario, Canada. Thomas Griffin, MSW, division director, Health Promotion Resources, St.
Paul, MN. Lavona M. Grow, director of dissemination competition, FIPSE, Drug Prevention Programs in Higher Education, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC. Harold D.
Holder, PhD, director, Prevention Research Center, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Berkeley. Karen Hughes, MPH, associate director, the Trauma Foundation at San Francisco General Hospital. Michelle Johnston, MPH, campus organizer, University of California, San Diego. Chris Lovato, PhD, project director, California College Health 2000, San Diego State University.
Special thanks go to members of the San Diego Area Intercollegiate Consortium for the Prevention of Alcohol and Other Drug Problems and to participants in project focus groups who provided valuable insight and direction for the development of this Guide. U.S. Department of Education This guide is a publication of the Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention funded by the U.S. Department of Education, under contract No. SS95013001.
Views expressed are those of the contractor. No official support or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education is intended or should be inferred. The University of California, San Diego, first published the CARA in 1994, with support from the U.S. Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education.
The Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention subsequently engaged the same authorship team to update the publication, hence this Second Edition, 1997. Layout Design: J. Lane Designs Production: The Higher Education Center College Alcohol Risk Assessment Guide Environmental Approaches to Prevention 4 Introduction 11 Problem-Oriented Prevention 13 Scanning 19 Analysis 25 Response 43 Assessment 49 Let Students Have a Say in Prevention Appendices A: Scanning Exercises B: Analysis Exercises C: Selected Publications and Resources D: About the Authors Introduction The College Alcohol Risk Assessment Guide will help you identify and modify risks that contribute to alcohol-related problems within college and university communities. The Guide describes methods and exercises you can follow to gather and organize information about alcohol use and associated adverse consequences at institutions of higher education and within surrounding communities.
Despite general agreement among campus officials and students alike that alcohol use contributes to a range of problems confronting colleges and universities, prevention often does not command a high priority for students, faculty, and staff. Making the case for prevention can be frustrating work, posing the challenge of getting people to understand why problems occur and how they can make a difference. The Guide can help you meet that challenge. Its four goals are to: *help you gather information on the extent of problems related to alcohol use at your college or university; *help you understand and describe environmental factors within your campus community that promote or discourage high-risk alcohol use; *assist you in organizing information on alcohol-related problems in an intelligible way, so that you can articulate concerns and generate a prevention support network at your college; *prepare you for work in reducing alcohol-related problems by identifying possible issues that can stimulate prevention efforts. What Is Prevention? This Guide focuses on alcohol problem prevention, defined as the avoidance of problems (the 5 Ds) related to alcohol use, such as social Disruption–including lost academic opportunities–injury, property Damage, Disability and physical Disorder, and premature Death.
Although problems related to the use of illicit drugs continue to challenge colleges and universities, alcohol has long been the drug of choice among college students, who drink at higher rates than their noncollege counterparts.(1) Over 40 percent of college students-and half of the males report binge drinking (consuming five or more drinks on a single occasion) within the prior two weeks.(2, 3) Surveys of campus officials, students, and faculty find that alcohol problems rank high among campus- life issues of greatest concern.(4) However, this focus on alcohol problems is not meant to diminish or discount problems related to other drug use. And while the Guide specifically addresses risks for alcohol problems, some of the approaches and exercises presented are also applicable to the prevention of other drug problems. But fundamental differences in public policies governing the sale and use of alcoholic beverages-in contrast with illicit drugs-allow for a wider range of prevention strategies. (1)Lloyd D. Johnston et al., Drug Use, Drinking, and Smoking: National Survey Results from High School, College, and Young Adult Populations, 1975-1990 (Washington, DC: National Institute on Drug Abuse, 1991), p.9.
(2)Cheryl A. Presley, Philip W. Meilman, and Rob Lyerla, Alcohol and Drugs on American College Campuses: Use, Consequences, and Perceptions of the Campus Environment, Vol. 1: 1989-91 (Carbondale, IL: The Core Institute, 1993), p.45.
(3)Henry W. Wensler et al., Health and Behavioral Consequences of Binge Drinking in College: A National Survey of Students at 140 Colleges, Journal of the American Medical Association, p. 272 (1994). (4)The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Campus Life: In Search of Community (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990), p.
39. A Public Health Approach The strategies to prevent or reduce alcohol problems described in the Guide reflect a public health perspective. A distinctive feature of public health is that it focuses on communities, not individuals. A public health perspective stresses that problems arise through reciprocal relationships among an individual, a direct cause, and an environment. In the case of alcohol problems, the direct cause is alcohol, and the environment is the social and physical context in which drinking occurs. Public health prevention strategies place particular emphasis on ways to shape the environment to reduce alcohol-related problems.
Environmental factors influencing individual drinking decisions include how, where, and when alcohol is made available in a given community or setting. These factors are often governed by formal and informal policies, such as customs, traditions, and norms. For example, federal and state tax policies influence the price of alcoholic beverages and help determine its economic availability (see The Price of Alcoholic Beverages). A public health approach acknowledges that alcohol problems are ultimately linked to the larger social and economic system. Beginning in the 1970s, new information on the nature, magnitude, and incidence of alcohol problems showed that alcohol can be problematic when used by any drinker, depending on the situation or context of drinking.(5) There was renewed emphasis on the diverse consequences of alcohol use-particularly trauma associated with drinking and driving, fires, and water sports-as well as long-term health consequences.
Research Basis What do we know about preventing alcohol-related problems? Because alcohol- related problems are complex, there are no easy answers. However, findings from a body of research studies suggest that certain actions can reduce certain problems. The key to successful prevention initiatives is matching up a specific problem with actions that have been found to be successful in reducing that problem.(6) The approaches described in the Guide are based on research demonstrating that increases in alcohol availability lead to increases in alcohol consumption, which in turn lead to increases in alcohol problems(7) (see Alcohol in the Environment). A complex set of cultural, social, economic, and political interactions contribute to the level of alcohol availability in a given society, community, or even neighborhood.(8) Patterns of consumption and problems in the general population similarly vary in relation to the physical, psychosocial, and normative environment in which individual drinking decisions occur, as influenced by the retail, public, and social availability of alcohol. In general, alcohol availability refers to the manner in which alcohol is served and sold in a given community or society. For example, if beer is priced lower than sodas during happy hour at a campus pub, the result is an increase in the economic availability of alcohol (see The Price of Alcoholic Beverages).
Problem Identification and Analysis Traditional prevention efforts on college campuses have, for the most part, focused on providing individuals with information and skills to help them avoid problems. A pamphlet on alcohol use and problems distributed in student orientation packets is one example of individual-centered prevention activities. These activities focus on the who of alcohol problems. This Guide will help you collect information to understand and respond to the what, where, when, why, and how surrounding alcohol use and related problems. What are the problems at our college? Where and when do they occur? Responses to those questions help you gain a better understanding of why problems occur. Then you can determine how to make environmental changes to reduce problems.
Once you collect information, the findings can serve several purposes. Most important, information informs prevention strategies and decisions by helping you identify opportunities for intervention and environmental change. By sharing information with the larger campus community, you not only raise awareness but also spark discussion and debate and generate interest and involvement of community members. (5)Dan E.
Beauchamp, Beyond Alcoholism: Alcohol and Public Health Policy (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1981), pp. 152-182. (6)U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Seventh Special Report to the U.S. Congress on Alcohol and Health (Rockville, MD, 1990), pp.
210-211.7 (7)Mark H. Moore and Dean R. Gerstein, eds., Alcohol and Public Policy: Beyond the Shadow of Prohibition (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1981), p. 47 (8)Harold D. Holder and Lawrence Wallack, Contemporary Perspectives in Preventing Alcohol Problems: An Empirically Derived Model, Journal of Public Health Policy, 7, No.
3 (Autumn 1986): pp. 324-339. After the drinking age was raised to 21, underage students at a large western university started holding large, off-campus parties on a main street near campus with a lot of rental houses. Neighborhood residents began to find more and more beer cans littering their lawns, noted an increase in neighborhood vandalism, and were often awakened by party noises. Hundreds of students roamed the streets going from party to party, causing traffic problems and other disturbances.
In response to complaints, city and campus police embarked on a joint effort to enforce underage drinking laws by standing on street corners and handing out citations to offenders. Things started to change. Fewer beer cans littered the neighborhood, vandalism dropped, and police reported that calls for noise disturbances, incidents of vandalism, and drunk and disorderly conduct declined almost 30 percent. A new city ordinance requires offenders to appear in court and pay larger fines. They must also attend and pay for a university alcohol education class, which helps support the campus prevention program.
PREVENTION STRATEGIES(9) Individual Behavior and behavior change Relationship between individuals and their alcohol-related problems Short-term program development People remain isolated and focused on self Individual as audience Professionals make the decisions Environmental Policy and policy change Social, political, and economic context of alcohol-related problems Long-term policy development People gain power by acting collectively Individual as advocate Professionals help create avenues for citizens to develop and express their voice Prevention on Campus: A Broader View Colleges and universities have developed a wide range of creative and innovative approaches for imparting information and raising awareness about alcohol use and problems. For example, students at many campuses use theater to get alcohol prevention messages across to their classmates. Many campuses have developed cadres of peer educators who make presentations about alcohol awareness and problem avoidance in classrooms and at residence halls and fraternities. Alcohol education activities are a necessary part of alcohol problem prevention efforts. However, they are insufficient by themselves to achieve substantial reductions in alcohol problem.(10) Alcohol problems are matters of public policy and not just individual habits and lifestyles.
It’s not just a matter of the right people making the right decisions-whether to drink and when to drink and where to drink-it’s more than that. It’s t …