By Vanessa Misciagna
It’s autumn, time for colleges across the country to confront the annual task of persuading incoming freshmen that there is, indeed, such a thing as too much alcohol. But despite their earnest efforts, the colleges continue to face an uphill battle.
Many universities now require students to begin taking alcohol-abuse education courses online even before the school year starts. Two of these programs, AlcoholEdu and e-CHECKUP TO GO (e-CHUG), are used on hundreds of campuses as a proactive tool against alcohol abuse.
But two independent studies released within the past two months have shown that while the programs, especially AlcoholEdu, are initially effective in curbing abuse, their effects are not long-lasting.
“You can’t expect a two-and-a-half to three-hour course to forever change someone’s behavior, especially when the typical college environment is working against you,” says Boston University professor Dr. William DeJong, who headed one of the studies.
DeJong’s study found that students who had completed the AlcoholEdu course were 4.64 times less likely to undergo negative effects from alcohol than students who had partially completed or failed to participate in the program. Those negative effects included alcohol poisoning, acute intoxication and injuries that occurred while the student was intoxicated. The study took place at a northeastern college with a student population of 5,000 undergraduate students.
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