As President Obama said in his State of the Union address earlier this year, our country is committed to out-innovating, out-building, and out-educating the rest of the world. That’s why, during National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, it is important to recognize that alcohol, drug use, and their consequences negatively affect every sector of society vital to winning the future, including the education of our youth.
Despite periodic calls for effective prevention, college student drinking is still responsible for:
- over 1,700 deaths annually
- over 600,000 assaults and almost as many unintentional injuries
- nearly 100,000 sexual assaults
This fall, approximately 20 million students returned to college and university campuses across the U.S. This is an important time to raise awareness by supplying our Nation’s educators with information and the tools they need to help students avoid the harmful effects of underage drinking, high-risk drinking, and drug use.
The Safer California Universities Project is a randomized study of 14 college campuses, shows that environmental strategies, or approaches designed to change aspects of the environment that contribute to substance abuse, help reduce alcohol use among students. Among other things, the study showed that general principles of deterrence, combined with reductions in the availability of alcohol, resulted in less intoxication in off-campus social gatherings (including those at fraternity and sorority houses) and in settings where alcohol is sold, when compared to sites without such interventions.