A TEAM approach toward addressing underage alcohol use is proving to be successful at Missouri University of Science and Technology, where risky behavior associated with alcohol has declined significantly between 2007 and 2010.
The positive changes are the result of an environmental change approach implemented by a group of Missouri S&T staff, administrators and faculty in coordination with local law enforcement agencies. Together, the group – a coalition known as Alcohol Talk, Educate and Advocate for Miners, or Alcohol TEAM – combines prevention education and awareness on campus with environmental change practices on campus and in the community.
Results from the 2010 Missouri College Health Behavior Survey (MCHBS) show a reduction in underage alcohol consumption at Missouri S&T compared to 2007 MCHBS results. The comparison also shows a reduction in underage drinking at parties, drinking and driving, and injuries due to alcohol use.
The MCHBS is a confidential, online survey administered by Missouri Partners in Prevention (PIP) to a random sample of undergraduate college students at Missouri S&T and other public and private colleges and universities in Missouri. The survey is one aspect of PIP’s activities to prevent high-risk drinking among Missouri’s college students.
“The progress made at S&T has been remarkable,” says Dr. Patti J. Fleck, director of counseling, disability support and student wellness at Missouri S&T and an Alcohol TEAM member.
“The most dramatic change,” says Renee Parks, Missouri S&T health educator and chair of the coalition, “had to do with whether underage students were hurt or injured due to alcohol use in the past year. The reduction at Missouri S&T was 50 percent greater than the state average.”
Parks attributes the improvements on campus to “effective collaboration in our local coalition of campus and community partners, especially among local law enforcement agencies and our campus police.”
Among the changes at Missouri S&T between 2007 and 2010, the survey reported:
- A 7 percent reduction in underage alcohol consumption during the past 30 days from the date the survey was taken (from 79.2 percent to 73.6 percent)
- A 28 percent reduction in underage students who drank at parties during the past year (from 48.5 percent to 35 percent)
- A 46 percent reduction in underage students who acquire alcohol by going to places they know do not check IDs (from 9.1 percent to 4.9 percent)
- A 30 percent reduction in those who have been hurt or injured due to alcohol use (from 11.7 percent to 8.2 percent)
- A 23 percent reduction in those who’ve driven after drinking (from 15.9 percent to 12.2 percent)
Even with these positive indicators, Fleck points out the need to continually address underage drinking issues such as drinking while driving.
For more information about Missouri Partners in Prevention, visit the website http://pip.missouri.edu.