CEU receives grant to help reduce student drug and alcohol abuse

Posted Thursday, September 9, 2004 - 12:00am

College of Eastern Utah was one of nine Utah higher education institutions to receive part of a $2.25 million grant from the Federal Center for Substance Abuse Prevention to help reduce alcohol, tobacco and other drug use among 18-25 year old college students throughout the state.

Presidents of Utah's institutions of higher education united to sign a "Presidents' Statement of Commitment" in support of the grant and campus-based substance abuse prevention efforts. The grant will fund strategies based on scientific research; a new emphasis in the field of prevention. The grant funds were given to the Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health.

CEU, Dixie State College, Snow College and Southern Utah University each received $153,000; Salt Lake Community College and Weber State University each received $203,000; and the University of Utah, Utah State University and Utah Valley State College each received $210, 400 of the grant money.

During the spring of 2003 and winter of 2004, the Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health conducted a statewide survey of college students. A total of 6,336 students were surveyed at nine of Utah's public higher education institutions. (Full results available at: www.hsdsa.utah.gov).

The good news found that 61 percent have never had more than a sip of alcohol; 74.3 percent have not had more than a sip of alcohol in the past year; and 82.1percent have not had more than a sip of alcohol in the past 30 days. Almost 69 percent have never tried any illegal drug; 85 percent have not had any illegal drugs in the past year; 91.4 percent have not had any illegal drugs in the past 30 days. And 37.9 percent believe that campus alcohol and drug policies are enforced.

The state level data tell us that a student's grade point average strongly correlates with alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use (ATOD): a high GPA means low ATOD use; low GPA means high ATOD use. Religious attendance and preference strongly correlate with ATOD use: more attendance correlates with lower use. Male students binge drink more than females students. Freshmen class students binge drink more than members of upper classes. 18-25 year olds binge drink more than students over 25 years of age. Those over 25 use tobacco more than those under 24. International students have higher rates of binge drinking, but lower rates of drug abuse than other students. Out of state students use more drugs than native Utah students. Divorced/separated students binge drink more than other groups of students.

Of those surveyed, the administrators found: 8.7 percent of students need alcohol or drug treatment 24.2 percent of students need mental health treatment, 10.9 percent had five-or more drinks in one sitting in the past two weeks (binge drinking); 9.9 is the average number of drinks per week for men who drink, 5.3 precent for women; 26.9 percent do not know whether their campus has drug or alcohol policies; 19.4 percent of students have had a hangover in the past year; 13.6 percent have regretted their actions after ATOD use; 10.2 percent have driven under the influence; 10 percent have been in an argument or fight after ATOD use; 9.8 percent have experienced memory loss after ATOD use; 9.6 percent have missed a class after ATOD use and 8.3 percent have had poor academic test or project performance after ATOD use.

The overall goal of Utah's State Incentive Enhancement Grant is to expand the successful model established with Utah's State Incentive Cooperative Agreement Project to address the prevention and early intervention needs of 18-25 year olds who are students at Utah's nine public colleges and universities.

Mary Lou Dent, a representative from the federal agency was quoted in the Deseret News, "We've seen tremendous progress here in Utah. The changes that accompany this grant will ultimately reduce drug and alcohol use and abuse in Utah.

The State Incentive Enhancement Grant is a three-year award to be administered by the state Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. It is specifically centered on research-based, scientific methods of reducing incidence of use.

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