FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kathryn M. Quirk
Screening for Mental Health
781-591-5247 or 617-875-6003
How Do You Score? Screenings Expose Risky Drinking on Campuses
WELLESLEY HILLS, Mass., April 4, 2011 – Wasted, trashed, drunk, sloshed: typical college lingo heard on campuses nationwide. For many students, it can be hard to draw the line between use and abuse when playing games like beer pong, quarters and flip cup, or when mixing alcohol with energy drinks. April is Alcohol Awareness Month and college students nationwide are encouraged to find out their drinking score at www.HowDoYouScore.org.
“While many believe alcohol is a normal part of college life, social drinking can quickly develop into at-risk drinking,” says Andrea Zelinko, director of alcohol abuse and impaired driving prevention initiatives for The BACCHUS Network. “Often students think that because they don’t drink everyday or feel like they need to drink, their alcohol use is safe.”
In an effort to raise awareness, more than 600 colleges across the country will participate in National Alcohol Screening Day® (NASD) on April 7, 2011. NASD is an education and screening program designed to help individuals evaluate their drinking and provide resources for those who score positive for symptoms of harmful alcohol use. As part of the screening event, students can take an anonymous self-assessment, pick up educational materials and talk one-on-one with a health professional. If appropriate, students will be directed to support services on campus.
NASD targets students who are risky drinkers. Since 2005, students have taken more than 80,000 screenings. Of those screened, 43% scored in the range of “harmful or hazardous drinking” and 19% scored in the “alcohol dependence” range.
“We’ve held the screenings for several years and each year when we do it, we receive a handful of referrals from the counselors,” says Meagen Wentz, wellness programs administrator at the Office of Alcohol and Drug Education at Central Connecticut State University. “I do hear students talk about it at the event—saying things like, ‘Wow, I didn’t realize this or that.’ I feel like our students appreciate learning about [risky drinking] in a way that isn’t threatening just by taking the screening. We screened 202 students last year and we’re hoping to beat that number this year.”
Unfortunately, the consequences of risky drinking can be more than a nagging hangover:
- 19.2% of males and 16.1% of females reported having unprotected sex because of their drinking (American College Health Association, 2010).
- Frequent binge drinkers are 21 times more likely than non-binge drinkers to miss classes, fall behind in schoolwork, get in trouble with campus police or drive a car after drinking (Harvard School of Public Health).
- 28.6% of males and 12% of females report consuming seven or more alcoholic drinks the last time they “partied” or socialized (American College Health Association, 2010).
National Alcohol Screening Day, held in April as part of Alcohol Awareness Month, is a program of the nonprofit Screening for Mental Health®. Visit www.HowDoYouScore.org to find participating schools or to take the screening online. To learn more about NASD, visit www.nationalalcoholscreeningday.org.
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