Over the past six years, Ohio University has seen a consistent reduction in high risk drinking behavior by an overall 15 percent, according to a 2013 survey from the Division of Student Affairs. The current survey indicates high risk drinking behaviors at 63 percent versus 78 percent in 2007.
The Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) survey is administered every other year by the area of Health Promotion in the Campus Involvement Center, as part of the U.S. Department of Education’s Drug-Free Schools Act Biennial Review Report.
“We are very pleased to see this continued decline in high-risk drinking rates among Ohio University students,” said Ryan Lombardi, vice president for Student Affairs. “There is still work to be done, but these data show that the trend is moving in the right direction. A big thanks to our Health Promotion team and the many others who have worked so hard on this issue over the past six years.”
Lombardi credits the university’s many outreach initiatives for the drop in numbers, including a mandatory alcohol awareness course for all first-year students, new judicial sanctions, an alcohol awareness marketing campaign and the medical emergency assistance (MEA) program, which allows students to seek medical treatment for themselves or a friend as a result of an alcohol or drug emergency without receiving judicial sanctions. Students taking advantage of the MEA program are required to participate in an intervention program and students receiving emergency treatment can only utilize the program once.
The student survey was conducted online with 1,262 respondents from a population of 17,007 Athens campus undergraduates for a margin of error of approximately 2.8 percent at a 95 percent confidence interval, producing statistically significant results.
Among the survey’s findings:
• The percentage of students engaging in high risk, or binge drinking, behavior dropped seven percent from 2011.
• 53 percent of students report having five or fewer drinks per week
• 14 percent of students choose not to drink.
• 11 percent decrease in students perceptions of their peers high-risk drinking.
• 70 percent of students do not use tobacco products.
• 90 percent of students are aware of the “Stop at the Buzz” harm-reduction campaign.
• 99 percent of students are aware of the alcohol and other drug judicial policies.
Lombardi noted that the drop in binge drinking is encouraging and said the university would continue to work aggressively toward curbing alcohol and drug abuse among students.
Ohio University uses the environmental strategies as defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) 3-in-1 Framework. This is a broad approach that seeks environmental change. In using such strategies, the University works to change the physical, social, economic and legal environment of the campus and community.
For more information on harm-reduction strategies at Ohio University, visit http://www.ohio.edu/involvement/healthpromotion/index.cfm.