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Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program
Sam Houston State University (SHSU)
How does alcohol and other drug misuse affect your community?
In the early 2000s, SHSU lost several students due to underage alcohol-impaired driving accidents. As a result, the university formally created an initiative aimed at prioritizing and coordinating alcohol and other drug prevention efforts. In the spring, our university implemented a campus-wide survey of students to gather data on their health status and behaviors. Additionally, our Office of Health Promotion runs an alcohol and drug prevention program that includes prevention efforts aimed at educating our campus community on the dangers of underage alcohol and substance use. Components of this program include interactive health fairs, presentations to student groups/classrooms, targeted programming, tabling events and passive programming, and more.
What challenge(s) did you face in planning your activity this year?
- Lack of interest from the community
- Inexperience hosting Communities Talk activities
What are your next steps?
- Conduct research efforts to learn more about issues in our community
- Create a public education campaign to raise awareness and/or change behaviors around underage drinking (i.e., create PSAs and other promotional materials)
Which Communities Talk resources (or other SAMHSA resources) were most helpful for your activity?
- StopAlcoholAbuse.gov website
- Communities Talk website
- Communities Talk planning guides
- Communities Talk toolkits
- Communities Talk social media content (e.g., Facebook, Twitter)
How did a Communities Talk event help you address those issues?
- Mobilized coalition members or other stakeholders
- Educated youth and parents
- Helped plan future prevention efforts
- Made making good health behavior choices fun and engaging
- Raised awareness of substance abuse and/or underage drinking issues in our community
How did your event make an impact on underage drinking in your community?
Participants learned about the dangers of underage drinking using our educational publications. We also conducted a “drunk goggles” activity and the “bar exam,” where students were able to learn the measurements of a standard drink. Our most popular activity was a drunk-driving simulator where participants wore goggles that simulated the effects of drunkenness and attempted to navigate a video game-like driving simulator without crashing. The video course included several obstacles that impaired drivers’ attempts to navigate. This activity helped to teach participants about the effect of alcohol use on motor skills and the delayed reactions that ultimately can lead to a crash and/or fatality.
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