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Survey finds most students not heavy drinkers

By Tyler Wager

Thursday October 18, 2001

Other findings of the 2001 Wellness Survey.

All statistics were gathered within last 30 days.

29 percent have not consumed alcohol

72 percent have not smoked or used tobacco products

77 percent have not used marijuana

93 percent have not used other illegal drugs

Campus Health survey part of drinking prevention campaign on campus

Most UA students are light to moderate drinkers, according to the recently released wellness survey from the Campus Health Center for 2001.

The survey, which was conducted during the spring, revealed that 64 percent of UA students have four or fewer drinks when they party and UA students party an average of one night per week.

One student said the Wellness Survey facts appear to be accurate, but that heavy drinkers could have a large effect on the statistics.

"The information seems reasonable, but you've always got the hard-core drinkers that ruin the curve," said John Lobrovich, a management information systems sophomore.

Lobrovich said the statistics don't influence his personal drinking habits.

Another student said he thought the survey will not affect people's decisions about alcohol consumption.

"People are going to drink as much as they're going to drink regardless of the information," said Dana Marr, an economics sophomore.

However, Campus Health reports a 29 percent decrease in heavy drinking since beginning their social-norming program in 1995. The program intends to correct student misconception about alcohol use among peers in attempt to decrease heavy drinking.

"It's less about anti-drinking and more about harm and risk prevention," said Caroline Collins, director of health promotion and preventive services at Campus Health.

One student said posters on alcohol consumption by UA students placed in dorms have influenced her views on drinking.

"The facts are really interesting to know, and I think they're very effective because if you don't drink very much at all, it makes you feel better, and if you drink a lot, it makes you stop and think," said Jennie Holden, a psychology freshman.

Holden said the bright, attention-grabbing designs of the posters and fliers enhance the program's effectiveness.

Beyond its media campaign, Campus Health also hopes to reach out to students through faculty and key individuals from the community.

"We're hoping faculty will continue to foster a safe and healthy campus environment," Collins said. "For example, if there's a discussion going on in a classroom about how everyone was wasted over the weekend, we want faculty member to step in, say they know that's not true, and challenge drinking myths with statistics from the surveys."

Campus Health conducted the Wellness Survey by contacting the instructors of about 20 percent of total courses and asking them to participate. About half the instructors agreed to participate in the 10-minute long survey. After they were completed, Campus Health compared demographics of survey participants to campus demographics.

"If, say, the participation was light on freshmen, we would go back and administer the survey in more freshman classes," said Dr. Peggy Glider, coordinator for education and research, Campus Health Services.

"We want to engage key individuals in our program so that when they talk to the community, they won't say that all students drink or party," Glider said.


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