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UCLA Adopts Online Alcohol Education and Prevention Program as Part of Overall Strategy to Help Keep Students Safe and Healthy

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UCLA has adopted an online alcohol education and prevention program for all incoming first-year students beginning in fall 2006 as part of the university’s comprehensive and proactive approach to help ensure that students have the tools they need to make safe and healthy decisions about alcohol.

The program, AlcoholEdu for College, is used at more than 450 university campuses around the country. The customized course provides personalized information to each student based on their own demographic information and their experiences, such as gender and drinking behavior.”While surveys show the rate of high-risk drinking by UCLA students is half the national rate, the campus wants to provide students with an additional tool to help them make healthy and safe decisions about alcohol,” said Janina Montero, vice chancellor of student affairs. “UCLA always has taken a proactive approach in this area, and AlcoholEdu will enable us to enhance our efforts.”In addition to AlcoholEdu, UCLA has a comprehensive set of policy and program initiatives to minimize unsafe use of alcohol by students. UCLA’s Drug-Free Schools Committee is the multidisciplinary campus committee that guides policy development, and coordination and evaluation of initiatives to reduce harm associated with alcohol use.The committee and other campus groups have long recognized that the greatest susceptibility to starting high-risk drinking takes place within the students’ first weeks on campus. However, online programs to assist in minimizing this effect have not been available until recently.”AlcoholEdu incorporates best-practice prevention strategies with science-based research in an interactive multimedia format that is meant to appeal to today’s students, who use computers as part of their daily lives,” said Pamela Viele, director of health education at the UCLA Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center. “The program aims to motivate behavior change, undermine unrealistic expectations about the effects of alcohol, link choices about drinking to academic and personal success, and help students practice healthier and safer decision-making.”Campuses using AlcoholEdu find that the course affects campus culture around drinking norms in a positive way, Montero said. The course provides an entire incoming class with a common base of knowledge and awareness of alcohol issues. UCLA has committed to participate in the program for four years so the campus can assess the effects on a class throughout their undergraduate studies.AlcoholEdu takes about two-and-a-half hours to complete. Students first participate in a confidential survey and baseline knowledge assessment, and then complete three chapters. Afterward they are assessed on their knowledge of topics covered in the course, such as alcohol’s effect on learning and memory, how expectations influence behavior, and how to recognize and respond to alcohol-related emergencies. The course uses streaming video and audio to portray hypothetical drinking situations in which students are asked to consider the consequences. A 15‑minute follow-up section is scheduled subsequently.The program was developed by Boston‑based Outside The Classroom.(Source: University of California, Los Angeles: March 2006.)

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Posted On: 16 March, 2006
Modified On: 16 January, 2014


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