When communities set out to reduce teen alcohol and drug use, they are often hampered by a lack of understanding and denial about the problems. EDC is working with 18 Boston-area towns to collect information on youth drinking and drug use and to help inform responses that will work.
A new study by researchers at EDC’s Center for Research on High Risk Behaviors offers insights into factors that may promote smoking prevention and cessation among young women in economically distressed communities.
Colleges and universities nationwide are working continually to keep
safe the nearly 16 million students who live and learn on their
campuses. Events such as the shooting tragedy at Virginia Tech and the
renewed debate about lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18 have made
the discussions about campus health and safety issues more urgent than ever.
In the last decade, the number of American Indian and Native Alaskan children has doubled, with 34 percent of the total population now under the age of 18. This boom brings hope as well as challenges to tribal communities, where rates of youth delinquency, dropout, alcoholism, and violence are among the highest in the United States.
In the wake of renewed calls to reduce the age to 18, the U.S. Department of Education’s Higher Education Center for Alcoholand Other Drug Abuse and Violence Prevention, located at EDC, has developed a fact sheet and resource bank.
Many parents acknowledge that teenagers are drinking, but most believe that the drinkers are other people’s children. However, the numbers prove that that hope is likely to be false. In Revere, Massachusetts, for example, surveys found that more than half of middle school students were drinkers. In response, community members invited EDC to help parents and others understand and reduce underage drinking.
Underage drinking affects not only teens, but their families and the community-at-large. An ongoing project in EDC’s Health and Human Development Programs (HHD)is working to change the social norms that contribute to dangerous teen drinking in Revere, Massachusetts, an urban community of 47,000 just north of Boston.
A new word has entered the New Oxford American Dictionary: “pre-gaming.” Not a sports or recreation term, it’s the practice of downing alcohol before attending a school event or party where liquor is banned or in short supply.
As colleges crack down on happy hours, frat parties, and underage drinking, the number of students showing up drunk at campus-sponsored and other events may still be on the rise. In a practice known as “pre-gaming,” students evade new restrictions on drinking by loading up on alcohol in private settings before heading out for the night.
substance abuse, unprotected sex, and related risky behaviors take a
tragic toll on the lives of individuals and their communities. To
prevent these risks, we must first understand the factors and
circumstances that contribute to risk-taking. EDC’s Center for Research
on High Risk Behaviors (RHRB) conducts a variety of research projects
that develop, evaluate, and disseminate effective interventions for
reducing health risks.
The Center for College Health and Safety in EDC’s Health and Human Development Programs (HHD) is partnering with the University of Washington’s Addictive Behaviors Research Center (ABRC) in a first-in-the nation effort to train campuses to implement an individual-focused intervention that has proven to be effective in moderating students’ drinking patterns and reducing alcohol related harms.
After successfully piloting its youth tobacco control program in India, Ghana, and Mexico, EDC’s Health and Human Development Programs is now testing the model in
Uruguay. The country, emerging as a leader in tobacco control efforts in Latin America, was one of the first in the region to ratify the international Framework Convention
on Tobacco Control.
EDC’s innovative youth tobacco control intervention, developed on behalf of the World Health Organization and successfully pilot tested in India, Ghana, and Mexico, is now being adapted and pilot tested in Montevideo, Uruguay.
EDC’s Health and Human Development Programs (HHD) is extending its work in youth substance abuse prevention and treatment through a new partnership with the local MetroWest Community Health Care Foundation.
Many of the more than eight million college students in the United States are faced with health and safety issues related to heavy use of alcohol, tobacco, other drugs, violence and injury, and the full range of mental health problems. These issues include hate crimes, vandalism, high-risk sexual practices, academic failure, and suicide.
The National Center for College Health and Safety, part of EDC’s Health and Human Development Programs (HHD), released a study showing that campuses with smoking bans in their residence halls don’t suffer any major financial consequences for their no-smoking policies.
EDC’s Center for College Health and Safety (CCHS) secured a five-year, $11.4 million contract from the U.S. Department of Education to continue to operate the Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse and Violence Prevention, previously known as the Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention.
EDC’s Center for College Health and Safety is one of nine co–signatories on a full-page notice published in Tuesday’s editions of the The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, and US News & World Report. The letter, issued by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), is part of a new outreach effort focusing on marijuana’s negative impact on teen learning and academic success.
The Center for College Health and Safety (CCHS) secured a five-year, $11.4 million contract from the U.S. Department of Education to continue to operate the Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse and Violence Prevention.
College students, alcohol use, and cars create a deadly combination. The U.S. Department of Education’s Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention, housed at EDC, has published Safe Lanes on Campus: A Guide for Preventing Impaired Driving and Underage Drinking. The publication, which is available online, in print, and on CD, describes “environmental management strategies” that can change the climate on campuses and in their surrounding communities to deter driving under the influence and high-risk and illegal alcohol use.
College students consistently overestimate how much their peers are drinking, according to many research studies. In turn, that widespread misperception encourages some students to drink more to “keep up” with the majority of their peers. Would students drink less if they had more accurate information about the campus “norm?”
A “campus mystery,” an interactive Web site, and interesting “factoids” were the ingredients of one campus’s innovative and successful social norms campaign to reduce problem drinking. EDC’s Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse and Violence Prevention(HEC) has recently published a case study that describes the initiative, Multifaceted Social Norms Approach to Reduce High-Risk Drinking: Lessons from Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Written by H.
HEC is working to move colleges away from a primarily educational approach to high-risk drinking and toward a broader, public health approach. HEC collaborates with college students, administrators, and faculty to help them re-examine and expand their responses to student drinking. In addition to serving as a clearinghouse and publisher of prevention resources, HEC provides training and technical assistance to individual campuses.
The prevention work of EDC’s Health and Human Development Programs (EDC/HHD) spans the spectrum, addressing public health challenges related to alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use; HIV infection; injuries; and violence. We work with communities; schools; and state, local, and national agencies in both the United States and many other countries.
While high-profile school shootings dominate national headlines,
a much greater threat to adolescent health is going less reported:
Teen suicide rates have tripled over the last 35 years, outpacing
homicide rates among 15-19 year olds by as much as four to one.
Suicide is now the second leading cause of death among teens, following
Community service programs—when combined with curriculum—not only promote community values and good citizenship, they may also protect students from risky health behaviors during adolescence. When New York City middle school students’ community service work (three hours per week) was combined with health instruction, both their violent behavior and their high-risk sexual activity dropped significantly.