Aug 252009

As part of CSU’s continuum of alcohol and drug prevention and treatment services, a primary study of first-year CSU students’ interaction with alcohol wrapped up last week.

The study, administered through U ConsiderThis, an online drinking prevention program piloted last year, will reveal students’ perspectives on the risks of consuming alcohol and offers established tactics to minimize those risks and encourage better decisions.

“It really gives students an opportunity to delineate facts from myth before they get on campus,” said Lisa Miller, director of Research and Health Promotion.

“It’s a population prevention strategy. We know that if students come on campus with more of a factual background on drinking, they make better choices without a doubt.”

Students were invited to participate in the first stage of the study, said Pam McCraken, Director of CSU’s Outreach and Prevention Programs, and the second portion will be offered to students sometime in October.

CSU and the University of New Mexico teamed up with the financial help of a five-year National Institute of Health grant to help give incoming, first-year students a perspective on the risks of consuming alcohol.

“(The Web site) is aimed at education and prevention. We want (first year students) to understand that college life is different than high school, different decisions they haven’t been faced at,” McCracken said. “(It helps first year students) make choices to stay academically and socially successful.”

U ConsiderThis provides information on drinking and driving, blood alcohol concentration levels, the affects of alcohol consumption on social connections, safety plans and allows students to make real-world choices, immediately displaying what the results would be.

For example, one of the decision making activities, called The Whiz Quiz, provides students with a question about what someone would do if they were offered an open drink at a party from a stranger.

The participant is then able to choose the right answer. If a wrong answer is chosen, then an explanation appears on why it would be a bad idea.

Although the program is geared toward the new student population, McCracken said it “certainly works for other populations as well.” Other age groups do not have access to the site at this time.

Robert Stewart, a sophomore Spanish and economics major, said it would be beneficial for as many people as possible to experience the Web site.

“I think it would be great for all different ages to take part in this. I think more people would benefit from it,” Stewart said.

However, some do not see the personal advantages to this program.

“I already know the risks and consequences of alcohol, and so I don’t believe this would be much help to me personally. It would repeat everything we learned when we were little. But overall the benefit could be good,” said freshman business major Nikki Everest.

To find out more on U ConsiderThis and other drug and alcohol prevention programs visit:

Staff writer Justyna Tomtas can be reached at

By the numbers


the number of drinks students at CSU consume on average per week, according to U ConsiderThis responses

43 percent

the number of first-year students who report not drinking

at all

97.2 percent

the number of CSU students who play it safe if they choose to drink

86 percent

the number of CSU students who use a designated driver/

Information courtesy of CSU’s Department of Alcohol and Drug Education and Prevention

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