At Drexel University we have made an intentional choice to address the issue of underage, illegal, and high-risk drinking and drug use. We are fortunate to have the support of the entire university community in making this commitment, including that of our new President John A. Fry. As Drexel’s alcohol and other drug (AOD) point person, I count my blessings for his support and leadership because, as we know, the support of senior leadership is critical to effectively implement change around this issue.
Strong leadership support is critical, but that is not enough. We need to address this issue from multiple angles. At Drexel, we have chosen to do what many of our colleagues across the country are doing - build on evidence-based strategies and implement a compressive approach. Some key elements of our approach include: campus climate assessments to “know your institution”; campus-wide assessments of student behavior; brief interventions; mandated and voluntary counseling; and partnering with student groups, peer educators and campus partners to deliver programs for students. These activities also involve specifically indicated populations, outreach to parents and families, campus specific research, ongoing assessment and evaluation of programs and services, and collaboration with community and national partners.
These are just a few of the key elements we have chosen for our compressive strategy. By understanding your institution and its environment, knowing your students and their behaviors, collaborating with your partners, investigating the problem and how to address it, and choosing to explore the multifaceted issue of underage, illegal, and high-risk drinking and drugging, we can work to keep our students healthy. None of this can be accomplished without university partners. I appreciate the support of the university communities in these efforts and encourage my peers to continue working collaboratively to address the issue of underage drinking and illicit drug use. To my peers I say: “Good luck with your programming journey and I hope our collective efforts will aid our students in choosing healthy options in challenging, everyday situations.”
For more information, visit the Drexel blog.
John Watson, MS, NCC is Director of Alcohol, Other Drug, and Health Education and Assistant Director of Counseling