Auto Club Congratulates UCSD for Program to Curb High-Risk Drinking

(SAN DIEGO, October 11, 2005) — High-risk alcohol use by students at the University of California, San Diego is being tackled in a new, innovative educational program for which the university was honored by the Automobile Club of Southern California and the Center for College Health and Safety. UCSD received a $1,000 check as a regional winner in the College and University Drinking and Driving Prevention Awards contest.

The drinking and driving prevention award was presented at the RIMAC Arena on the UCSD campus by Steven Bloch, Ph.D., senior research associate for the Auto Club and program coordinator.

"New methods of communicating the dangers of high-risk drinking are needed because after years of traditional education, students still abuse alcohol at an alarming rate," Bloch said. "A 2005 study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism indicates that drinking by U.S. college students contributes to 1,700 deaths and half a million injuries annually. In addition, 2.8 million college students drive under the influence of alcohol annually."

UCSD developed the innovative S.A.F.E (Substance/Alcohol Feedback and Education) program to intervene with at-risk students. S.A.F.E. incorporates five components: a screening day when students complete substance abuse-related questionnaires to identify high-risk drinkers, a web-based alcohol screening questionnaire that allows student to identify their own alcohol problems, mandatory referral of students to peer educators for individualized screening feedback and education, professional counseling for students wishing to deal with alcohol problems, and follow up by senior staff members.

"UCSD's program is impressive, consisting of a comprehensive, multi-stepped treatment approach with increasing intervention activities if student problems grow more serious," Bloch said.

To address problems associated with drinking among college students, the College and University Drinking and Driving Prevention Award was developed eight years ago by the Auto Club and the Center for College Health and Safety. The award recognizes campus programs and activities that reduce drinking and driving or prevent alcohol and other drug use that can result in impaired driving.

The Center for College Health and Safety assists colleges and universities in developing, implementing and evaluating prevention policies and programs to address health and safety issues.

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