University Interventions Reduce Student Intoxication

DUI checkpoints, party patrols, heavy publicity used in intervention

FRIDAY, Nov. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Environmental strategies aimed at settings where heavy drinking among college students occurs can reduce intoxication at off-campus parties and bars, according to research published online Nov. 9 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Robert F. Saltz, Ph.D., of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation in Berkeley, Calif., and colleagues conducted a series of surveys of student drinking patterns at 14 large public universities, half of which were assigned to the "Safer" intervention. This environmental change intervention included nuisance party enforcement operations, underage-decoy alcohol purchase operations, driving-under-the-influence checkpoints, social host ordinances, and the use of local media. The purpose of the study was to measure the proportion of drinking occasions in which students drank to intoxication.

The researchers found that students at the Safer intervention universities had a lower likelihood of intoxication for their most recent drinking event at an off-campus party (odds ratio [OR], 0.81), a bar or restaurant (OR, 0.76), or any setting (OR, 0.80). The strongest effects of the intervention were seen at universities that had the highest level of implementation of the environmental strategies.

"These findings should give college administrators some degree of optimism that student drinking is amenable to a combination of well-chosen, evidence-based universal prevention strategies," the authors write.

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