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Dec. 2, 2010 Volume 32, No. 14

Drug and alcohol programs pay dividends at MU

The University of Missouri’s efforts to reduce dangerous drug and alcohol use on campus has been rewarded with a $130,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Kim Dude, director of the Wellness Resource Center, said the grant will fund “Life is Not a Spectator Sport,” a new project to teach students how to intervene when their peers’ engage in risky behavior. Thanks to the grant, all materials produced by the Wellness Resource Center will include tips on how students can help other students stay out of trouble. The center also will increase awareness of the censequences students may face when they are arrested for alcohol-related offenses.

“It is great to be recognized for our accomplishments,” Dude said “Now, we want to work to increase the ordinary student’s role in prevention. We want students to step up and step in to a situation to keep their friends safe.”

According to an annual survey conducted by the Wellness Resource Center, the percentage of MU students who engage in dangerous drug and alcohol activities has decreased significantly in the past five years.

Among the findings:

  • 25 percent decrease in binge drinking (five or more drinks in one sitting);
  • 24 percent decrease in binge drinking for students under 21;
  • 71 percent decrease in students purchasing alcohol without having ID checked;
  • 73 percent decrease in underage students getting alcohol from someone they knew at the bar.

The Wellness Resource Center offers alcohol-awareness programs to incoming freshmen during Summer Welcome, as well as activities throughout the year that highlight the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and drug use. The prevention programs, which have earned the center “model program” recognition from the Department of Education, focus on social norming, encouraging students to make responsible decisions and fostering relationships within the campus and community.