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Alcohol and Other Drug Use
In 1994 the University of Arizona (UA) Campus Health Service (CHS) received funds from The Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) High Risk Youth Demonstration program to, in collaboration with key senior administrators, faculty, community partners and student leaders, implement and test strategies to prevent heavy and high risk drinking among undergraduates at the UA. This CHS led effort utilized a combination of strategies: 1) social norms marketing to correct the misperceptions of students and others about attitudes, beliefs and behavioral campus norms surrounding alcohol and other drug use, and 2) environmental management to reduce availability and accessibility of alcohol, especially to underage students. By 1998 rates for heavy drinking and problems related to heavy drinking began to fall.

  • Heavy drinking decreased by 29%
  • Negative consequences - driving after drinking, getting in trouble with police and school authorities, getting into a fight or argument, doing something I later regretted - all decreased significantly,
  • Related school problems decreased - missing class and doing poorly on a test as a result of drinking - also showed significant decreases.

In addition more stringent and uniform enforcement of alcohol-related policies (i.e. increased restrictions on alcohol availability, monitoring of alcohol distribution and consumption) significantly reduced alcohol-related incidents at Homecoming, traditionally a heavy and high-risk drinking event at the UA.

In 2003, in addition to social norms, and environmental management strategies, UA began its first pilot program for some in our highest-risk target population utilizing a motivational interviewing/cognitive skills training approach (BASICS), as a third strategy. To date CHS has received twelve federal grants to continue to mobilize campus AOD and related violence prevention efforts. Most recently, in 2005, and based in part on the early success of these approaches CHS was awarded a 1.5 million dollar grant by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment and a $300,000 grant from the Department of Education’s Safe and Drug Free Schools program to continue to research and apply these effective strategies.

The Campus Health Service continues to employ a comprehensive strategy to address alcohol use. Since 2002, significant decreases in alcohol consumption have been seen from data collected in the annual Health & Wellness Survey, administered to a random sample of classes each spring semester. Additionally, research shows that alcohol-related protective strategies (e.g. use of designated driver, setting a limit on the drinks they will have) among UA students have increased while most associated negative consequences have declined.

For example, between 2002 and 2011:

  • Average drinks per week decreased from 7.6 to 4.4 among UA students
  • Frequent heavy episodic drinking (6+ times of 5 or more drinks in one sitting in past 2 weeks) decreased from 13.5 in 2002 to 6.3 in 2011
  • The percentage of students who did not use alcohol in the past 30 days increased from 23% to 31%
  • A 37% decrease was seen in students who drove after drinking any amount of alcohol in the past 30 days, from 29% to 18%
  • A 41% increase in students who set a limit on the number of drinks they will have, from 36% to 51%



The University of Arizona Student Quality of Sleep Project
In summer 2005, the Campus Health Service received a small grant from the Pacific Coast College Health Association to study student sleep patterns at The University of Arizona. Through design and administration of an anonymous online survey, personal interviews with UA undergraduate students, and the creation and implementation of a broad education/awareness campaign, project findings will be published in the August edition of the Journal of American College Health.

Through the collection of both qualitative and quantitative data, our research supports the fact that poor sleep is a challenge for many students residing on campus, and that sleep may be linked to student concerns related to mental health and academic performance. Our surveys and interviews revealed that students have a strong interest in sleep, and that discussions of sleep might be a useful starting point to address more sensitive issues of physical and mental health. As sleep relates to many aspects of student health and performance, interventions targeted at improving sleep also have the potential to improve both health and academic success. We hope that this research and intervention strategy may serve as a model for others seeking to improve overall student well-being.

For more information about The University of Arizona Student Quality of Sleep Project, contact one of the Principle Investigators – David Salafsky, MPH or Lee Ann Hamilton, MA, CHES – at (520) 621-5700.

For sleep related health media, please visit the Sleep Health section of our Health Media Online website.

The University of Arizona